Monday, January 07, 2019

The first week of 2019

The new year is almost seven days old. What has this new year brought me?

I spent New Year’s eve at Mass in Plan Grande and then reading at home. New Year’s day I preached at the 11 am Mass in Dolores,

The second day of the year was a domestic day – washing clothes, reading, writing and more. 

I even got around to writing a chapter of a book I’ve been working on sporadically on my call to be in mission and to be a deacon. It was a fruitful day. I even took a walk down to the parish coffee field to see how it was doing. It was full of ripe coffee berries.

Thursday and Friday were workdays. I got up early both days to transport parishioners to the parish coffee fields. On Thursday more than 120 parishioners harvested more than 500 galones of coffee berries. On Friday about 75 people harvested more than 400. A group came bag on Saturday to finish this harvest. There are still enough green berries that we’ll have at least two more harvests.

"Un galón" is actually a five gallon bucket, as seen here.

After the work day I helped transport people back to their villages – and finally got home to Plan Grande about 6 pm.

On Saturday I went with some people from the parish to the deanery’s celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Peace. Padre German asked me to pick up the small water bags for the people and so I transported two people from Plan Grande and about 500 bags of water.

The event was a procession through the streets of Santa Rosa followed by Mass in the cathedral. People carried banners on this year’s theme. “Good politics is at the service of peace.” That’s a message that is really needed here.

Sunday I had planned to go to Pasquingual for a 9 am Celebration of the Word with Communion and then to Mass in San Agustín. But I had changed my plans and decided to go to the 7:00 am Mass in Concepción.

As I got into my pickup at about 6:30 am, I looked across the valley and saw something I’d never seen before – a spectrum of light above the earth. It wasn’t the end of a rainbow or a sun dog – but it was like the star of Bethlehem for me – a sign of God’s presence. How appropriate for the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord.

I preached at Mass in Concepción. After Mass, Padre German said he thought I was going to be at the Mass in San Agustín. He had seven Masses that day (including at least one funeral) and wanted some relief. (When I serve as deacon at Mass, he almost always wants me to preach.) So I agreed to go to San Agustín in the afternoon.

But first I went to Pasquingual. It was a beautiful Celebration of the Word with really good music, which was enhanced by the presence of a young guy from Tegucigalpa with an incredible singing voice. Of course, I preached again.

After the celebration I went to visit the sick with two members of the community. The second person we visited was named Jesús. He’s deaf and mute, but attentive. We sat and prayed with his wife and daughter. I remarked that it was interesting that we three had come to visit Jesús – two kings and a queen. Afterwards I visited a woman in her home and shared communion with her. On the way out I stopped and said hello to Don Salatiel, 95 years old but still walking around unaided.

This week probably broke one record for me – I preached three times in one day. But that’s nothing like what our pastor does as he responds to the needs of the people in the nearly 50 places of worship in the parish.

Today, I’m off to the clergy meeting with the bishop.

In the next few weeks I need to begin preparing for events this year, especially with the catechists. I also hope I can find time to do more work on my book.

The life of a deacon here is full - of many different ways of trying to live out the call to help us as the People of God show forth Christ the Servant, born among the poor, to a world in need of His Love and Peace.

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