Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mission and more

October is the month of the missions.

Many think of missionaries as those who go to a foreign land, eat exotic food, suffer without water and electricity, and are always smiling.


But here in our parish there is a different sense of mission. In the spirit of the Latin American bishops’ meeting in 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil, we are all called to be disciples-missionaries. If this sounds familiar, this is also a theme of Pope Francis which he knew very well as one of the major writers of the Aparecida document.

But our parish has a special way of doing mission work. This year, as we did last year, the parish sent out about 45 people in twos (or threes) to villages throughout the parish, from Sunday October 8 to Sunday October 15. They went without money, without cell-phone, not to preach but, by visiting people in their homes and listening to them, to help them discover the God of mercy in their lives, their families, their communities.

The missionaries were sent out at the end of Mass on October 8. Two new missionaries received a cross to wear but all of the missionaries received a cross which fits in the palm of the hand. But the cross was to be given to a sick person or another person in need. The crosses were given so that the sick, the elderly, the homebound would have a reminder that Christ is there with them in their suffering.

 They were also given a rosary. A parish in San Antonio had donated rosaries to AMIGA which has sent medical brigades to this area several times (and are here right now.) The directors gave them to me and we gave them to the missionaries so that they could give them to someone who wanted to pray the rosary but did not have one; it didn’t matter if they were ill or well, old or young. It was to be given to encourage them to pray.

Most communities sent someone to bring them to their assigned villages. One group was waiting on the church steps but no one arrived. Another group, accompanied by someone from the village, was there, but they had no ride. So I gave them a ride. Two missionaries and their guide got off the truck at one point to walk to the village. I took the others to San Marcos Pavas, one of the most remote villages in the parish. We were able to get in because the landslide had been partially removed. However, I left my car on the other side of the landslide.

During the week I went to two places to preside at a Holy Hour and Benediction. Thursday I led them here in Plan Grande. Friday I was going to another remote village but, after calling someone from their at the suggestion of Padre German, I decided not to go, since the road was washed out in one place due to a ground fault. The experience of the Holy Hours was very good for me. I left time for all of us to place the sick, the departed, and all our needs before Christ in the Eucharist.

Saturday I went to a meeting of one of the zones, most of all to help them plan for Confirmation in a village there in less than two weeks.

Sunday, we had the closing Mass of Thanksgiving with the returning missionaries.

Monday, I spent at least five hours in church in Dulce Nombre.

Confirmations are scheduled for October 25 and 26. The more than 250 to be confirmed (as well as their sponsors need to go to confession before confirmation day. Padre German has had some confessions in the aldeas but most of those to be confirmed and some sponsors came to Dulce Nombre on Monday for confession. Padre German asked me to arrange a morning of prayer and more while he heard confession. So we had a penitential rite with prayers, readings, and music, which had been planned by several young catechists, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for about an hour, followed by the Rosary led by one of the local sisters, Oblates of the Divine Love. Thanks be to God three priests arrived to hear more than 300 confessions – during more than three hours. Then we concluded with a Mass.

What a sign of Gods’ love and mercy.

After Mass, I rushed off to Concepción, Copán, about ten minutes away. AMIGAS was attending patients there and they needed translation help. I helped for a few hours and then headed home.

Tuesday I helped translating for the brigade which saw people in nearby Candelaria, Concepción. 

After leaving a few doctors went to the home of a bed-bound woman about 32 years old who lives here in Plan Grande. The doctors examined her and will see what can be done. During the visit the mother mentioned that they had not had a blood test for several years, mostly for lack of the thirty or so dollars needed. I told her about the parish’s Solidarity Fund and we’ll see what we can do. I also shared Communion with the woman – praying for continuing healing of body and soul.

Next week we have confirmations and we’re trying to get ready for that. In addition, I’ll be leaving for the US right after confirmations -  a time to visit our sister parish in Ames, Iowa, as well as to take a short retreat at a Trappist monastery.

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