Monday, May 29, 2017

Lightning strikes and a busy ministry

Lightning struck –very close – Saturday afternoon about 5:15. Of course, the electricity went off. It seems not to have affected my computer. The electricity returned about 8 pm but no internet signal. The company came this morning and changed the converter which had been burnt out by the lightning strike.

The rains were abundant; a barrel of rain water that catches the run off from my house filled in less than ten minutes! And then it kept raining throughout the night.

Such is the severe weather here in the mountains of Copán this time of the year.

The last week I have been plagued by what we call el mal de mayo – the ills of May. With the rains there are often intestinal problems, often brought by the rains affecting the purity of the water sources – usually mountains springs. 

I got a severe case – which included two types of parasites (including lombrices – pinworms), amoebas, and an intestinal bacterial infection. I’m finally feeling a bit better. But this has left me worn, distracted, and a bit bored when I have had to stay home.

Before I got sick I had two busy weeks on my return from the US.

I watched as a neighbor continues building his house and some school kids picked flor de izote near my house. I also noted the mangos which are right by my terrace. Some people eat green mangos. I'll try to wait until they are ripe.

In my ministry, I had two sessions of training with catechists in the first week I got back. Instead of sessions in each of the four zones, we had two sessions, combing zones -  a little less moving around for me. In all about 65 catechists participated.

The youth had a soccer tournament on Saturday, February 13. Four teams participated. One other came late and then left without playing; that’s a long story.

We were supposed to have an Alternatives to Violence workshop in the Gracias Lempira prison. Sister Pat and I prepared but there were not enough people signed up. This ended up being providential since I got really sick on the day we were supposed to end the workshop.

I have been regularly preaching, often when I accompany Padre German and when I go to a community on a Sunday to bring Communion. I did get to preach for the feast of Saint Isidore, the patron of farmers, int eh community of San Isidro La Cueva.

This week is busy.

Sunday morning I went to a community for the Celebration of the Word with Communion. Padre German asked me to go there because of some concerns on the pastoral situation there. After that I went to a nearby village for the Mass which Padre offered for a person who was killed there last week. Padre spoke movingly during his homily – calling for people to seek justice in the case but to avoid all violence, placing all at the cross.

 After that I visited a family that lost an 18-month old who drowned in a pail of water. That was not easy, but God helped me to provide a place where the extended family could reflect and pray on the tragedy they suffered. I was impressed with the shared concern of so many. I was especially impressed by a young couple, relatives of the child, who took care of the child as if she were one of theirs. The mother of the child who died is in prison – which is a whole other story – and so this couple aided the father in the daily care of the child. The young woman told me she felt as if a part of her heart had gone. I was deeply moved, especially as she explained how she tried to interpret the death to her own four-year old daughter who was asking where the dead child was. I learned a lot from that young woman.

Then, I set off to the Youth Group in Dolores. It was a busy day. They agreed to do a sociodrama on “dry bones” as part of the coming Pentecost Vigil Mass.

Monday, I’ll help transport workers from the parish coffee field. I’ll also await someone to come and fix the internet. I’m doing some revision of our religious education material, especially the materials for the catechumenate – for those over fourteen who haven’t yet been baptized.

Tuesday, there’s a clergy meeting in Santa Rosa. If I can arrange it, I may try to get to visit the youth in Delicias in the late afternoon.

Wednesday, I’ve invited the Dubuque Franciscan sisters to the house to celebrate my seventieth birthday - a day early.

Thursday, my birthday, there will be a Mass here in Plan Grande, but not for my birthday. A couple in their late seventies are going to celebrate the sacrament of Matrimony. I look forward to this.

Friday, I’ll go to Gracias in the afternoon to celebrate Sister Nancy Meyerhofer’s fiftieth year jubilee celebration as a Sister of St. Francis of the Holy Family (the Dubuque Franciscans). I’ve known Nancy for at least twenty-five years – first in El Salvador and now here in Honduras.

Saturday, I’ll return to the parish and head out to San Agustín. There, starting at 6 pm, we will celebrate the Pentecost Vigil – until 6 am on Sunday. (I’ll try to get a few winks in.)

I’m involved and Padre has asked me to preach at the Vigil. Somehow I’ll find time to prepare.

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