Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lent and the last month

Lent has begun here in Honduras – to overcast skies and some rain today.

In the parish, Ash Wednesday was different this year. Padre German had a Mass at 9:30 am (or so) in Dulce Nombre and had asked all the villages to send the person who would lead the Celebration of the Word in their village. After Mass they took ashes back to their villages.

I was supposed to take ashes and communion to two of the most remote villages. On the way out, in Candelaria, I heard a strange noise in the car and the dashboard lights came on. The one that most alarmed me was the light indicating that the battery was not re-charging. I did not want to get stuck in Debajiados or San Marcos Pavas with a dead battery.

I went to a mechanic in Dulce Nombre  who diagnosed it as the alternator – not the T-belt, as I had feared. But he couldn’t repair it and suggested I take the alternator to Santa Rosa – 30 minutes away. I went and had the alternator reconditioned. It cost a pretty penny.

Interestingly Rueben, the Dulce Nombre mechanic, was wearing a Nebraska beat Iowa t-shirt! (I hope it was the University of Iowa!)

However, I could not get to the villages and returned to Plan Grande at about 5:45 pm. I had a light dinner in the darkness since the lights were out (due to a truck taking down a light pole in Santa Rosa at 8 am).

Gloria had invited me to their celebration and when I got there asked me to preside at the celebration and give the reflection. The congregation was small due, I think, to the lack of light. People sometimes fear to leave their homes at night.

The lights finally came on this morning at 10:50 am.

The few weeks before Ash Wednesday have been rather full.

I accompanied Padre German to a number of communities where there were, in total, about 100 baptisms.

I helped facilitate two workshops for leaders of base communities from two zones of the parish and two workshops on liturgy from two other zones.

I accompanied the Eucharistic ministers in their monthly meeting.

But I’ve been spending a lot of time working on materials.

We have materials for baptism of infants, of kids between 7 and 13, and of catechumens (14 and older) as well as materials for confirmation. Now I’m working on materials for first communion – a year long program. I have about half of the themes finished and will distribute to the catechists at their training sessions in the coming two weeks.

But what has been really fun working on is the material for base communities. An idea of the diocesan social ministry was to have one saint of charity for each month, as a way to celebrate the Year of Charity in the diocese.

The materials they had prepared were very poorly prepared – mostly copy/paste. Padre German asked me to prepare stuff for our parish (and its 150 or so base communities).

I mostly used the Spanish translation of his incredible book All Saints.  The translation is really poor but it still helped me having to write all the material in Spanish – and making thousands of errors.

As usual, my approach is distinctive – with scriptural readings and questions for discussions in order to help the base communities relate the scripture and the saints to their daily lives.

Here are the saints for the rest of the months of this year:

March – Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero (of El Salvador)
April – Saint Brother Pedro of Guatemala
May – Saint Isidore the Farmer and his wife, Santa Maria
June – Saint Anthony of Padua
July – Saint Isabel of Portugal
August – Saint Rose of Lima (Peru)
September – Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
October – Saint Francis of Assisi
November – Saint Martin de Porres (Peru)
December – Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego

Other works are still in process. It’s so good to be here, living in the midst of the parish.

Next Sunday we'll have about 100 catechumens participating in the rite of election in the parish. Another example of the good work of our catechists.

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