Yesterday I went to Santa Rosa and talked with the people at Beneficio Santa Rosa. The coffee from the cooperative will be sent about August 12.
It has been a long and complicated process and I hope there are no problems. Most of the work will have to be done on the US side of the process.
The cooperative is in the process of incorporation and will need to go to Tegucigalpa soon. They asked me if I could take them – and the Caritas lawyer. I looked at my calendar and told them the only time I have two days free in August is the last week! We’ll see if that works out.
They also want to have soil analyses of the members who didn’t have an analysis earlier this year. Unless they work out an arrangement with an organization in Santa Rosa, that will mean a long trip to La Lima, Cortes, near the San Pedro Sula airport.
My hope for them is that they can get legal status and also begin working to improve their crops – so that they can find a good market for the coming harvest.
But there is concern about the upcoming harvest.
Though we’ve had some rains, it has been hot and dry – which is not good for coffee. Padre German told me this morning that some coffee bushes are ripening too fast and so the harvest may be poor. My hope is that the coop’s lands, which are at 1280 to 1320 meters high have enough coolness and moisture to bring in a good crop.
The second week in July I was at a national clergy study week on Christology. Last week the diocese had a clergy study week on Spiritual Direction. The bishop has me attend both as part of my formation for the permanent diaconate.
I am also taking an online course on canon law which ends in early August. I am also begin an online short course on morality.
I am also reading like mad.
I just finished two books that really complimented each other: Robert Barron’s Catholicism and Robert Imbelli’s Rekindling the Christic Imagination. Two things I liked about both books were the emphasis on the Incarnation and the use of art to help understand faith.
I’m also studying Pope Francis’ encyclical on creation, Laudato ‘Si, which I’m finding challenging and refreshing. It really speaks to our situation here. I’m hoping I’ll have time later this year to write something about it.
The real joys of ministry this month have been my visits to various villages, leading the Celebrations of the Word and distributing Communion. This is a great way to get to know people where they live and share with them my reflections on living the Gospel here.
I’m met with the youth in Oromilaca last Sunday when I visited there. I also met with the youth group in the nearby village of Candelaria about a week ago. This is an area where we need to work more in the parish.
I also continue to accompany Padre German n some of his visits to the villages.
Next month I will have four workshops with catechists in the different zones of the parish. Before that I need to finish the materials for First Communion.
The first week of the month I’ll accompany Sister Pat Farrell to the Gracias, Lempira, prison for an Alternatives to Violence workshop. I am looking forward to this – not only the chance to work with Pat but also the opportunity to work with people at the margins facing one of the serious problems here in Honduras – violence.
Monday I went to Tegucigalpa to renew my residency card. Sister Pat accompanied me since she is in the process of getting residency and had to leave some papers. Thanks be to God we got in and out in one day. It was a long day since I drove most of the 11 hours that it took. But I have the card and don’t have to go through that process until next July or August.
In July I also went to the doctor’s for a check-up. When I went in, June blood personal, cholesterol, uric acid, and triglycerides were above normal. The doctor gave me medicine and it seems to be working – since all was normal. I do however need to begin to walk and to do a little exercise.
I hope to get to Iowa in October to visit St. Thomas Aquinas as well as to do some speaking around the region.
I also hope to bring Padre German with me since he has been invited by St. Thomas Aquinas to visit the parish.
Last Thursday night I woke up at 3:30 am to the sound of a hard rain on the roof. I went out to check the terrace since it has not been draining all that well. So I went out to sweep off the excess water.
When I opened the bedroom door I felt the rain and wind hitting the door – an almost horizontal rain, with a fierce wind. Then I heard and saw a piece of tin roofing fly in the air. I thought a piece of my roof had come off.
Needless to say I couldn’t fall back to sleep and so decided to put on the coffee and sit down to pray and read until the sun came up and I could survey the damage.
My roof wasn’t damaged, but the front porch roof of my next door neighbors had blown off – and one piece had landed next to my house.
I got them some nails when I went into Santa Rosa that day an they fixed the roof on Saturday.
But the drought and continued. As I write this on Wednesday afternoon, we are having our first rain since last Friday.
Wonder of wonders, the sun is shining as the rain comes down – and I saw a rainbow not far away.
The first few months here in Plan Grande there was no problem with water. However. the last few months there have been some problems and we’ve been without water for a few days. Right now we have not had running water for two days. I do have a tank and a large pila of water and so I am doing a lot better than my neighbors.
Tomorrow is the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Though my spirituality has Franciscan roots, the Jesuit ways of praying have helped me a lot – especially the Examen and the Composition of Place. The latter is reading the Gospels while putting oneself in the place where the events are happening, paying attention to one’s feelings. We are even using this way of praying the scripture with our base communities.
Tomorrow I hope to use the day as a retreat day – before a busy month. In the afternoon I’ll accompany Padre German to a Mass on the first anniversary of the death of the husband of one of our Communion ministers.
I’ll close this meandering entry on the little things that have taken up my life this month with these words of the Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner on the value of earthly things, taken from Jim Maaney’s An Ignatian Book of Days.
In the last analysis there is nothing that cannot be integrated into the service of God in some way, and one can say without hesitation: God grows in men to the degree that their relationship to things is a more positive one, and vice versa. This point must be emphasized because man is always tempted to consider earthly things meaningless and of little value. For our relationship to God, the “other things” are absolutely necessary— they are the place of our service and worship.