The last ten days have gone by in a flash.
Much of my work has been at home, preparing material for the base communities, based on saints of mercy. It’s not easy work – since I try to make the material understandable to people with great faith but limited formal education. I also try to prepare questions that make them think about what they read in terms of their lives and allow them the chance to share. This is not easy since much of the educational system (as well as the religious education system) is oriented to the question-answer memorization method. I finally got the booklet done and got it printed. Now the distribution begins.
I was also busy several days reviewing scholarship applications. St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ames, Iowa, is providing funds for partial scholarships for student in the alternative program called Maestro en Casa, which provides classes on weekends for middle school and high school students. They listen to programs on the radio, fill out workbooks, and have classes one or two days each weekend.
Sunday January 24 was a good day. My neighbors’ children got married at the 9 am Mass in Dulce Nombre. I was glad to see them taking this step – which so many young people avoid.
After the Mass I met with twenty young people to try to begin the formation of leaders for youth base communities or groups in the parish. We only had representation from eight communities, but five of them have functioning groups. We have some activities planned and I need to get materials ready for them.
Monday January 25 was another good day.
In the morning I took members of the small coffee producers association in El Zapote de Santa Rosa to Estu Café in Santa Rosa de Copán, a business that does cupping, roasting, and training of baristas. I thought only one or two would be coming, but eight showed up. I also thought that Estu Café would only take the coffee. But Juan Carlos and his staff spent almost three hours with the producers, talking to them about cupping, producing quality coffee, and giving them an abbreviated experience of how cupping is done. I am most grateful for the work of Estu Café.
In the afternoon I got back in time to help transport some of the men who had been working on the parish coffee land, clearing the brush around the plants in preparation for fertilizing the field before the next harvest. I took about seven guys to their villages about twenty minutes away. Then back home for some food and rest.
Wednesday I made another trip to Santa Rosa, mostly to do some shopping. But the real joy was to spend lunch at Weekend’s Pizza with the Dubuque Franciscan sisters who now live in two places, Gracias and La Entrada. Visiting with them refreshes my spirits.
Thursday was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. I decided to accompany Padre German to Mass in the village of El Zapote de Dulce Nombre. He praised Saint Thomas church up and down and prayed for the parish, ever grateful for their solidarity and aid.
After Mass he went to visit two bed-ridden old people to hear their confessions and celebrate the anointing of the sick with them. He had to rush to another village for Mass and so asked me to share Holy Communion with them and pray with them.
What a great privilege it was to be there with these two persons, people of faith. They were living in the home of some family members who cared to them. I asked them to pray for the parish, telling them that that is their mission.
I couldn’t help but remember caring for my dad is his last years. I spoke to the family and encouraged them to continue the loving care they were giving. In the first house I shared how seeing a poor family in El Salvador caring for a sick older family member helped me make the decision to care for my dad at home.
Friday, I stopped down to the parish coffee field where a small group was fertilizing a part of the field. I also spoke to Padre German about the base community booklet and then headed out to Santa Rosa- my third trip last week – to get copies made.
Today the dioceses celebrated the opening of the Jubilee year of Mercy and the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán. That deserves a separate post which I’ll try to write later today or tomorrow – complete with photos. For a preview of the photos, check out the album here.