Thursday, December 08, 2011

Rain, baptisms, and more in Concepción

It’s been raining  constantly for almost 36 hours and might be raining for a few more days. It’s, as they say here, a “cold front.” And since it has also been in the 60s during the day and the 50s at night it has felt cold. (You have to remember that Santa Rosa de Copán is in the mountains of south west Honduras.)

This morning I decided to go out to the Mass and celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the municipality of Concepción.

It was raining and misty the whole way out about 8 am (and there was also a lot of fog when I returned to Santa Rosa at 1 pm).

Mass didn’t start until 10 am, though I thought it was supposed to start at 9. Anyway, I used the time to visit with people and to answer questions about the liturgy from some of the pastoral workers in Concepción.

Father Henry, the new associate in the parish of Dulce Nombre, celebrated the Mass – as well as two special sacramental celebrations. The music was good, led by La Gran Familia, a group from the village of Plan Grande, but the participation was weak. Yet it was quite the celebration.

There were six baptisms – a three month old infant, one boy about 10, and four girls between 7 and 11. Father Henry doesn’t believe in sacramental minimalism. He doused the young people with lots of water. 

Padre Henry emptied the water on the last one baptized, the boy!

 After they changed into their  “white” baptismal clothes, they were introduced to the community and embraced by Padre Henry.

Eight young people from Concepción made their First Communion at the Mass. They brought up the gifts at the offertory – including a statue of Mary, a bible and the bread and wine for the Eucharist. They stood around the altar with lighted candles.

The first communicants were the first to receive the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. But Padre Henry did something I’ve never seen here before (but which I like).

Here communion under both species (bread and wine) is not common, though it happens a lot in the parish of Dulce Nombre using the form of intinction. The priest dips the host  in the chalice and places it on the tongue of those going to communion.

At today’s Mass Padre Henry gave the young people the host which they all took on the tongue. Then he passed the chalice to them so they could drink from the cup. It’s probably something the kids won’t forget.

After Mass, many of the people went outside, beside the church, for laying and blessing the first brick for a new church. The old church which has become too small will be replaced this year.

In the rain we stood around as prayers were said and three bricks were symbolically laid.

I hope the construction of a new church helps build up the church, the community,  in Concepción.

I left in the rain – glad to have been part of the life of another community in the parish of Dulce Nombre.

The next three days I’ll also be going out to the parish. On Friday and Saturday I’ll be going to two of the zonal meetings. On Sunday I’ll go to the 5 pm Mass in the municipality of Dolores. Bishop Santos is coming out to consecrate their altar as well as to install the twenty-some new Extraordinary Ministers of Communion for the parish. The ministers have gone through a two year process. It will be good for them to be able to distribute the Eucharist in their communities, especially sine there is such a great devotion to the Eucharist here.

Next week will be Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos’ last week as bishop here in the diocese. On Saturday, December 17, the new bishop, Monseñor Darwin Andino, will be installed.

Monseñor Santos will be missed. I’m hoping to write a longer piece on him and his impact on the church here. We sat together for about an hour on Monday and talked.

I’ll give one hint on what I’ll write. I had a few questions that I had written and showed them to him before we started. One was “What are your dreams for the future?” Looking at the question, he remarked without forethought, “The Resurrection.”

Ah. That’s a bishop who is a pastor.


Just a note for liturgists. Inculturation occasionally means praying the Hail Mary immediately after the Our Father . Don’t get too upset, please. It’s a part of their piety!

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