Monday, February 03, 2014

Virgin of Suyapa feast in Plan Grande

Mary, under the title of the Virgin of Suyapa, is the patron of Honduras. The tiny image  - 2/3 inch - was found in 1747 by Honduran campesinos but has become a deeply venerated image of Mary here.

I am especially intrigued by the Virgin of Suyapa because it is not a devotion to a grand image or a miraculous vision of Mary, but a veneration of something very small.

I have become convinced that God chooses the small things of the world to confound the powerful. But this doesn’t stop the politicians from using the Virgin of Suyapa to enhance their image. The celebration of the feast in the basilica in Tegucigalpa will be attended by politicians, military, and economic elites.

But I went to the celebration in Plan Grande, Concepción, Copán. The Virgin of Suyapa is their patroness as well as the patroness of the sector of the parish.

I arrived just in time to drive behind the procession to the church.

Before Mass, as Padre German had confessions, two musical groups sang – La Gran Familia from Plan Grande and Los Enviados por Dios of San Agustín. They were outstanding.

La Gran Familia
Enviados por Dios
Then five young girls from the five communities in the sector were introduced. The first and smallest was Rosa from the small community of Los Descombros. She spoke clearly and gave a great message to those gathered in the church.

Rosa de Descombros
The Mass proceeded as usual – with a long sermon by Padre German, emphasizing the direction the parish is heading, asking people, in the spirit of Pope Francis, to take the initiative in living the faith, to become involved, to accompany others, to bear fruit, and to celebrate our faith.

shrine of Suyapa in the Plan Grande Church
At the end of Mass all were invited to a snack prepared by the base communities of Plan Grande. Gloria said it was not really a lunch.

So two hundred or so stood in line for a “snack” of rice, tamale, four tortillas, curtido (“pickled”vegetables), and coffee or pop. I’d call that a meal.

I was very impressed that the community had provided such a substantial “snack” for so many people. It was a real sign of welcome and of caring for others.

After this I pulled Padre German over to the spot where I’m thinking of building the guest house where I’ll be staying (and welcoming visitors). I will live in the house until I leave here in a plane or a casket – pending other plans from God. Then the house will be handed over to the parish for its use.

The welcome that Plan Grande had provided for all those at Mass reinforced for me why I chose this community.

Now the fun begins – plans for the house, a design, a budget, contracting a maestro de obras and other workers, and overseeing the construction.

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