Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas wanderings

The past week I’ve not stayed much in Santa Rosa.

Last Monday I went out to Plan Grande where I’m planning to move next year. I also wanted to arrange a visit to the village with Fr. Jon Seda, the pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ames, Iowa, who is coming this Friday with two others.

I went to the place on the grounds of the church where I’m thinking of building a small house (with guest rooms). In the future the parish could also use it for small retreats.

My friends who live near the church had an unusual Christmas tree in front of their house.

What a creative use of plastic pop bottles. (For you non-Mid-Westerners, they are soda bottles.)

Tuesday, I went out to El Zapote de Santa Rosa for the graduation ceremony for their Maestro en Casa program. Seven students finished ninth grade – the end of Ciclo Común (the equivalent of junior high). It was great to see their accomplishment. They will probably not have a chance at this point of going on to high school since there is no high school nearby.

Graduates in El Zapote with their teacher (in the center)
In the afternoon I went to Gracias, Lempira, to spend Christmas eve and Christmas day with the Dubuque Franciscan sisters who live and minister there. It is always great to be with them, not only because I’m a lay associate of their community but also because it is an opportunity to pray, eat, talk, and play dominos with friends.

We went to the Christmas Eve Mass at the church of San Marcos in Gracias.

A children’s group put on a pastorela, a Christmas pageant, before Mass. The dramatization was fantastic – and their singing was very good.

Gabriel visits Mary
Simeon (mop hair and beard) greets the holy family (with a real baby)

Thursday and Friday were days at home in Santa Rosa – cleaning the house, doing errands, making a few needed purchases. Saturday I went to the Mass of priestly ordination of two young men here in Santa Rosa.

Today I went out again to El Zapote de Santa Rosa, one of my favorite communities, for Mass – complete with about 49 baptisms: 23 of children under seven, the rest between seven and fourteen.

Baptism of a months old baby girl
Before Mass, I had a chance to see their nacimiento, their nativity scene. When I had passed by there on Tuesday they were getting ready to set it up. They were proud that it would be all–natural. They had gone out into the woods to gather real plants.

It was a marked contrast to the nacimientos I saw last week in Quebraditas. See my previous post

Nacimiento in El Zapote de Santa Rosa de Copán
As I witnessed the baptisms I marveled several times when I saw the look of awe on the face of several of the children. 

They were really experiencing the loving embrace of God in their baptism.

The trip down the hill from the church was treacherous, even in four wheel drive. The rains and heavy fog had turned the road into a slick muddy mess. It was like driving on pure ice - though a little more scary since there was a steep drop off on the left.

Tomorrow I’m out to Dulce Nombre again to talk with Padre German about several things, including the upcoming visit of Fr. Jon.

New Years Eve is Tuesday. I don’t know what I’ll do, though the Franciscan sisters down the street (from a Spanish congregation) invite me to drop by. In any case, I’ll have to prepare myself for the barrage of firecrackers with which people celebrate New Years. I may have to find my earplugs.

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