Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hordes of confirmation candidates

The parish of Dulce Nombre normally has confirmations on September 8, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, the parish’s patronal feast.

This year, because there are more than 600 confirmation candidates, there will be six celebrations of the sacrament in the parish – two on September 8; two on August 27, the vigil of the feast of St. Augustine; and two on October 4, the feast of St. Francis. (Ours is not the parish with the most confirmations. A friend of mine tells me that there are usually between 700 and 1200 confirmations each year in the parish where she ministers, Gracias, Lempira.)

I have been involved in some of the retreats and preparatory meetings.

Most of those who will be confirmed are in their mid or late teens but there are almost always some older confirmation candidates. On Sunday, August 12, in San Agustín I mistakenly asked a man who appeared to be in his late sixties to wait to respond to a question until the candidates had answered. He told me that he too was a candidate – and so I profusely apologized in the presence of all the 70 or so candidates present.

On Wednesday, August 15, I went up to Delicias Concepción – 18 kilometers from the town of Dulce Nombre de Copán – for a retreat for the fifty candidates from that zone. What a delightful group who came with their parents and sponsors and filled the small church. 

Confirmation retreat in Delicias

Some of the preparation for confirmation means that some people are baptized. 

The church in San Marcos Pavas

On Saturday, after a morning with the Communion Ministers, I went with Padre Efraín to San Marcos Pavas, the most remote village in the parish.

Some of the musicians in San Marcos Pavas - and a future musician

There were about 12 baptisms and several first communions. One was a thirty-three year old woman whose son was also baptized. She made her first communion and will be confirmed later this year.

Impending rains near San Marcos

After Mass we barely got to the house where we ate when an incredible storm broke. I heard and saw some hail but it rained hard for a long time. We finally left in the rain. Padre Efraín wanted to leave before a gorge we had to cross got too high. We then went to another village, El Zapote where there were 12 first communions and a wedding during Mass and the baptism of the children of the married couple after Mass.  

First communions in El Zapote

 Quite the day, especially for Padre Efraín who had a wedding in the morning in Dolores, Copán.

On Sunday I went to San José El Bosque in another sector of the parish for a retreat with over candidates from that sector. The retreat went well, though I sensed that many of the young people are more shy than in Delicias. This may be due to the level of poverty in the El Bosque area.  But, I was a joy to be with them. Padre Efraín came about noon and had confessions before Mass where there were three baptisms and first communions.

The three who were baptized in San José El Bosque

Two others asked me to help – but I already had commitments.

But this year the parish is seeking to have major follow up for those who have been confirmed.

On October 27, there will be a get-together for all the young people who have been conformed this year or last year, to welcome them more in the parish and to invite them to form base communities for young people in their villages as well as to involve them in various ministries in their villages. There could be as many as1000 young people here in Dulce Nombre.

The church here really evangelizes the people  and tries to nourish in the people the sense that they are the Church. What a privilege to be working with them.

No comments: