I had a family from Ames visit me for a week over Christmas. it was, for me, a good experience, including living with three teenagers!
For me one of the best experiences was Christmas morning.
I had gone with the parents to the church in Dulce Nombre for the Christmas Vigil Mass (at 9:00 pm) but we had decided to go out to a village, San Antonio El Alto, for a Christmas morning celebration of the Word with Communion.
|The church in San Antonio El Alto|
The church had recently been expanded and they put a ceramic floor to cover the previous dirt floor. The Celebration went well, with lots of people going to Communion.
After the Celebration there was coffee with sweet bread for the adults while we arranged the piñata we had brought – full of candy.
After the piñata was destroyed and I had handed out more candy I had brought, we visitors were fed coffee and ticucos, a cornmeal ball with some spices and either beans or meat in a corn husk.
Then the visitors kicked around a soccer ball, for about half an hour.
They left on Wednesday, after participating in the Posadas one night, picking coffee in the Plan Grande church field with people from Plan Grande, learning how to make tamales, playing Frisbee, attending many Masses and seeing baptisms, visiting the Mayan Ruins in Copán Ruinas, and more.
|Plan Grande residents picking coffee|
Another group is coming Sunday, but I’ve had a few days to catch up – cleaning the house, getting clothes washed, doing some work on a booklet on the saints of mercy for the base communities, visiting with Padre German, and more.
New Years Eve there was adoration of the Eucharist in the Plan Grande church followed by a Celebration of the Word with Communion. I went and got roped into leading the Celebration of the Word and giving a reflection. I was not really prepared and so I read a series of questions for the new year by José Antonio Pagola. (The text in Spanish is here.)
New Years Day I went to Mass in Dolores and Padre German had me give a reflection – a sort of preparation for the diaconate. Someone caught a picture of me speaking there.
Then I headed for Gracias to spend some time with the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters there, to celebrate Sister Pat’s birthday, and to help three of them move to their new ministry in La Entrada. As always, being with the sisters renews me and I get a few great meals!
|Four of the sisters.|
Saturday morning, two pickups from Gracias, my pickup, and the sisters’ car caravanned to La Entrada. A mini-bus took some of the parish’s communion ministers to bid the sister good-by.
As we took the sisters’ possession to their simple dwelling on the second floor of a house in a poor neighborhood, I was struck by the simplicity and the poverty in which they will be living. It is a challenge for me. They are living their Franciscan mission in poverty, among the poor.
Now I’m back in Plan Grande, relaxing, preparing to head for San Pedro Sula tomorrow to pick up my visitors. I’ll first head out to 7:00 AM Mass in Concepción and then drive to San Pedro. We’ll stay overnight since two of the visitors don’t get in until after 5:00 PM.
But now little things: some writing, some reading, some preparing of materials, and getting the house ready.
That’s what a new year brings: many little things done, hopefully, well and with a sense of the presence of God – and the hope of living faithfully a new year serving God’s people.
|New Year's morning sunrise|