A few friends have noted that I have not written a lot on this blog during June.
The month began with my sixty-eighth birthday, which I spent fairly quietly.
The first Saturday of June I went to Intibucá with about 25 young people from the parish for a diocesan youth gathering. The trip was three hours long and the weather was bad. Most of us got soaked during the Mass.
It was good to be with the young people, but - to be honest - the event was disappointing. But two of the youth groups are planning to get together for a joint meeting.
I have had three visitors. I went to El Salvador for a few days with two of them and visited with some friends while there. I spent four hours talking with a journalist friend in English, which was very intellectually stimulating.
The other visitor has been studying medical missions in Honduras and I accompanied her on a visit to a clinic supported by a US Foundation. We talked a lot about Honduras and so-called “mission” groups. I also took her to the Copán Ruins which are only 90 minutes from my house.
In mid June I visited the Amigos de Jesús center for children near Azacualpa, talking with the US volunteers. The directors have asked me to visit with the volunteers every two months or so in order to help them process their experience and deepen their faith and spiritual life as volunteers in Honduras. This should be a very interesting and challenging experience.
This means that I have spoken more English this month than I usually do in three months. I wonder if I might be slowly losing my fluency in English.
I’ve been involved in several workshops – for delegates of the Word and for base community leaders. I had full responsibility for one, but Padre German did most of the work in the workshop for delegates. I also accompanied a meeting of the extraordinary ministers of Communion.
I have also accompanied Padre German to several villages, which have included Baptisms. Padre German is having me help a lot in the liturgies – presumably as a preparation for my possible ordination as a deacon.
In San Juan, I spent about ten minutes before Mass talking with the kids and asking them a little about why they were getting baptized. They also had a load of questions for me.
I am regularly visiting villages on Sundays for their Celebrations of the Word. That means preparation for my reflection on the readings.
I’m also in the midst of trying to see how the coffee from a small cooperative in formation can get to the United States.
I am also trying to do a bit of study as part of the formation process of the diaconate. I am taking a course on line on canon law and I am reading a lot on varied topics, including Joseph Martos’ book on the sacraments, Doors to the Sacred.
I also met once with a spiritual director, but have to fond another one since he is being called back to the US by his order.
There have also been mundane pursuits – getting a Honduran driver’s license which took half a day; medical appointments with an eye doctor and with my regular doctor; weekly visits to Santa Rosa de Copán to buy groceries and other needs; leaving my car with the mechanic for repairs; getting soil to fill in the garden area around the house; washing clothes (by hand). Right now I have a huge pile of clothes to wash – including two sets of sheets. I hope the weather is good next Monday and Tuesday.
I did have a chance last week to have a long lunch over pizza at Weekend’s in Santa Rosa with Sister Nancy Meyerhofer, a Dubuque Franciscan in nearby Gracias. These are great ways to catch up on our lives and share our experiences.
July promises to be a bit less busy; I may have to try to take a few days for retreat or vacation.
Nancy, in her general letter, wrote something that really resonates with me:
One of my mentors in Chile, a wise older Jesuit, once told me that pastoral work is like playing an accordion: there are times when the whole thing is squeezed together (or “crunch time,” I guess we could say) and other times when the music box is relaxed and open.
June has been crunch time for me; July may be more relaxed, hopefully opening me to the continuing call of God.