Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Confirmations, a Franciscan get-together, and transforming conflict

Monday morning I went out to San Agustín, Copán for confirmations by Monseñor Darwin Andino, our bishop.

Monseñor Darwin, Padre Efraín, Padre Henry

 San Agustín is about 40 kilometers from Santa Rosa – about 90 minutes by car. Surprisingly the last portion of the road is fairly good since the mayor of San Agustín has done much for the municipality.

Those to be confirmed came from San Agustín and from four nearby villages. Most were young people from 14 to their early twenties, but there was one older man from San Agustín, probably in his seventies.

After Mass and a meal, I headed to Gracias, to spend some time with the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters there. A special treat was the visit of a good friend, Sister Pat Farrell, one of the members of the congregations whom I have known since about 1987 when I met her when she and another sister were serving in a  displaced persons camp outside San Salvador, El Salvador. In 1992, I volunteered for six months in Suchitoto, El Salvador, where I worked with the Salvador parish priest and six US sisters, including Pat and Nancy (who has been ministering in Gracias for more than six years.)

We talked of many things but the highlight was centered around evening prayer. We – Sisters Pat, Nancy, and Brenda and Betty, a volunteer living with them and I sat in prayer in their small chapel. At the end of Evening Prayer, I signed the Mutual Covenant as an Associate, as a sign of my connecting myself in prayer and mission with the Franciscan sisters of Dubuque.  After this, Pat and Nancy, who had served together in Chile and El Salvador, sang a few songs. Their harmony was outstanding.

Pat and Nancy singing, such harmony!

 I left Tuesday morning for Siguatepepque, after taking Pat and Nancy to the bus station and getting a piece of furniture with Brenda from the local jail.

I’m here in Siguatepeque until Saturday for the final follow up of a series of Caritas workshops on Constructing Peace and Transforming Conflict.

Each morning a team shares a review of what happened, often including memorable quotes. Among the quotes heard yesterday, someone had said: “When I have a nightmare; I think of Juancito; when I am sad I think of Juancito.”

An activity during the Transforming Conflict Workshop

I thank God for this chance to share a bit of the joy I have experienced. I guess that too is part of my Franciscan spirit.

If you haven’t read Pat Farrell’s address to the LCWR assembly, you can find it here in both English and Spanish. It’s worth study and prayer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pat Farrell for President.

Really. Fifty years since the last Jubilee, and she has lost nothing of her faith and good humor. Or, if she has, she was more than overflowing to begin with.