Monday, November 23, 2015

Keeping up

I have been a bit remiss in keeping up with the blog this month.

The month began with two catechists workshops. They are almost always a delightful challenge and this time we began the sessions with praying Psalm 23 by having the catechists draw an image from the psalm that touched them.

Then I spent a day with Sister Pat preparing the Alternatives to Violence workshop which we facilitated in the Gracias prison. Another of the Dubuque Franciscan Sister, Sister Mary Beth, joined her here at my house in Plan Grande.

Then I went to the diocesan pastoral assembly where I had the role of secretary. The bishop was there with all the priests who are pastors as well as the parish coordinators (sort of like parish council presidents).

Immediately after the assembly, the bishop came here to the Dulce Nombre parish for three confirmation Masses.

Then it was off to Gracias for the Alternative to Violence workshop. It went well, though there were a few times when we had rather spirited conversations. (Machismo runs deep.)

Last Thursday, Phil Barutha from Saint Thomas Aquinas in Ames arrived and we’ve been rather busy.

The big event, though, was Sunday’s feast of Christ the King.

Over one thousand people came to the town of San Agustín for a procession and Mass.

When we arrived at the starting point of the procession I started to walk through the crowd with Phil so that he could meet a few of the people.

This is one of the things I most enjoy in my ministry here – the chance to just go through a crowd and greet people – shaking hands and greeting babies.

No, I’m not a politician, but the importance of greeting people personally is very important. I learned this at St. Thomas where I found great joy in greeting people in the parish’s gathering space before and after Sunday Masses. It’s there that I met a lot of folks, especially students, who would never attend an event but were faithful to Sunday Mass.

Here I find greeting people important. Honduras is a society that looks down on the poor, that considers them not worth much. Thus is important to greet them, to listen to them, to let their voices be heard.

This week I’ll be taking Phil around to a few places so that he can see more of the parish and report back to the St. Thomas Honduras Ministry Committee.

Then a day free until next Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, when we will accept about 40 young people as catechumens who, if they persevere, will be baptized at the 2016 Easter Vigil.

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