Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hectic times

Next Sunday afternoon I’m heading to San Pedro Sula to stay overnight in order to catch an early Monday morning flight to the US. I’m going to Iowa for a week , mostly to attend the ordination of two young men whom I know from my time at St. Thomas Aquinas in Ames, Iowa. It’s a whirlwind visit, but a little break.

Last Saturday I had a very good meeting with the youth in San Agustín. Some had just come back from visiting a poor sick woman in her home, bringing her a few necessities.

Before the meeting started I introduced them to the ice breaker called the knot. It was quite entertaining.


I wanted them to give us in the parish an idea of what themes they would like to treat. Since this can be a rather intimidating activity for some, I had them write what they’d like to talk about on sheets of paper. I gave them a few ideas, including leaving them the chance to talk about sex and relationships, if they wanted.

I was not surprised that friendship and relationships scored high – but there were several who wanted to talk about trust and honesty.  We decided to start next month with something on trust – probably using a lot of activities to help them grow in trust. I’ll also try to work with the young leaders of the group to train them to lead their peers. That’s much better than an “old fart” like me leading them.

I took Sunday off – just Mass, reading, and stuff around the house. Monday and Tuesday morning I spent in Caritas, but went out to the house building site on Tuesday afternoon and , after talking to the guy in charge of the building project, rushed back to Santa Rosa to buy cement and rebar.

But Wednesday started the ministry I really love. I went out to the most remote zone of the parish to do a workshop with base communities leaders. For prayer, I am using the Ignatian contemplation method with the story of Jesus calming the torment. I’m doing this since once a month the base communities are supposed to do a reading of the scripture during their meetings using St. Ignatius' imaginative method of reading scriptures. I wrote about this in an earlier post, here.

The workshops went well and we were finished early. I knew that Padre German and a group from one of the sectors of the parish was working on the parish's new coffee field in Plan Grande. They were weeding and putting up fences. 

The field looked rather good - and the plants are a new variety of coffee, called Ovata. This is one of the first fields planted with Ovata in the region. It is supposed to give a good yield.

ovata coffee plant

Today, Thursday, we had a meeting of the delegados de la Palabra, the delegates of the Word, those who are in charge of the Sunday celebrations in their villages. We reviewed the nature of the Triple Ministry (prophetic, liturgical, and social) of the base communities to make sure they are integrating their ministry with the base communities. Then we began the process of looking for the characteristics of a Delegate of the Word. We only got started, but we’ll be meeting again next month.


Tomorrow, I have a workshop with the base community leaders in one zone;  leaders from another sector are supposed to show up. Luckily, for me, it’s in Dulce Nombre and so I don’t need to go so far.

Saturday is the meeting of the parish council. But I will be getting up early to take a young engineer friend of mine out to the building site to see if he can help design the roof for the house. We’ll leave Santa Rosa at 7 am. Then I’ll try to get to a part of the parish council meeting, come home, and pack.

Sunday is Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Devotion to the Eucharist is very strong here – and there will be several processions throughout the parish. Also, several villages where they have the Eucharist will have the Forty Hours devotion – forty hours, usually continuous, of prayer before the Eucharist.

I will be leaving Sunday afternoon on a bus to San Pedro, but not until I get through a busy morning.

Corpus Christi will start out early, with a procession and Mass in the town of Concepción. After Mass, I’ll be going out to Plan Grande. The catechists of that sector are having a get-together for those preparing for Confirmation. We could have up to 130 young people. It starts about 8 am and goes to Mass and procession in the early afternoon. I’ll go out to see what I can do and to spend time with the young people.

It is really great to see the efforts of the catechists and young people in this sector. In some other parts of the parish we are struggling with religious education and sacramental preparation. That’s not unusual or unexpected – especially when we are expecting up to 600 confirmations this coming October, and there have been more than 2,000 baptisms since last August.

When I get back from my trip to Iowa, I will have lots more to do, especially since Padre German wants me to go out and see what’s happening in religious education.

I’ll be glad when I live in the parish – and will be able to do this much more easily.



3 comments:

mexfiles.net said...

I'm curious about those "delegados de la Palabra". The clergy have always been in short supply in Latin America, and it seems the Church had to find "creative alternatives" over the past few centuries. Some Mexican parishes (where official anti-clericalism made the priest shortages more acute than other places) seem to get by just fine with only an occasional visit from the priest. Others are... ah... a bit heterodox in their practices. Are these a newer version, or something that's been around for several years? How much control does the clergy have over them, and what exactly are they permitted to do?

mexfiles.net said...

I'm curious about those "delegados de la Palabra". The clergy have always been in short supply in Latin America, and it seems the Church had to find "creative alternatives" over the past few centuries. Some Mexican parishes (where official anti-clericalism made the priest shortages more acute than other places) seem to get by just fine with only an occasional visit from the priest. Others are... ah... a bit heterodox in their practices. Are these a newer version, or something that's been around for several years? How much control does the clergy have over them, and what exactly are they permitted to do?

John (Juancito) Donaghy said...

I'll leave a fuller discussion of the delegados for a later post. Here in Honduras, they began with an initiative of the bishop of Choluteca int eh mid-1960s so that the villages would have someone to lead services, bringing Celebrations of the Word to remote villages. In the beginning they were only men.

They pre-date the base communities.

What they do and can do often depends on the diocese as well as the parish priest. Some of them have assumed a super-leadership role in their villages, a sort of religious cacique.