Friday, February 12, 2016

Accompanying in the cold

It’s unusually cold here – lows in the forties and highs in the fifties or low sixties – with lots of rain and fog. Note: we don't have indoor heating (though I did take advantage of a small space heater I had a few times.)

But in the midst of this life goes on. People go out to harvest coffee; neighbors produce sugar from their sugar cane; kids go to school. And people participate in the life of faith.

The day before Ash Wednesday, the statue of St. Rose of Lima was brought to the church in El Zapote de Santa Rosa. That night there were confessions, Mass, and an all-night vigil. I stayed for the Mass and got home at midnight.

The statue arrives in El Zapote
Ash Wednesday we had Mass and blessing of ashes in Dulce Nombre. Many delegates of the Word had come for the Mass and for ashes to take back to their communities.

Padre German and I distributed ashes, recalling that we are dust and to dust we will return. Then those who had received the ashes placed their hands on the bible and were advised by the sisters who work in the parish to convert and believe in the Gospel.

Used with permission of Canal2 Dulce Nombre
I then took eight of the delegates to Zone 4, one of the areas very far from the parish center. Later that afternoon I passed by the church here in Plan Grande while ashes were distributed.

Ashes in Plan Grande
Thursday morning I accompanied a car from El Zapote taking the statue of St. Rose of Lima to meet people from Zone 2. We crammed into two pick ups for part of the trip but later the people walked in prayer to Vega Redonda. 

Walking toward Vega Redonda

Crossing the bridge into Vega Redonda
They had confessions, Mass, and an all night vigil last night.

Today the statue will be transferred to the main church in Dulce Nombre.

In the evening there will be confessions with priests from the deanery with the bishop, followed by Mass and an all-night vigil.

I plan to accompany the celebration until the end of Mass. Tomorrow I have a meeting with Communion ministers in the morning and then will accompany the transfer of the statue of St. Rose to the parish of San Juan Bosco in Santa Rosa.

The rain and the cold continue. But that still doesn’t stop our ministry.

This week I also attended a meeting of the coffee association in El Zapote de Santa Rosa. They distributed the cupping results to the members who had sent a sample. But they were also meeting with a group of women from the United States who are looking at possibilities for projects that would combine work on nutrition with prevention of violence against women. The meeting was arranged by Caritas of the diocese of Santa Rosa which has been working with the Association, helping them obtain legal status. Here's a photo:

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