I admit to knowing very little about the debate on climate change other than I am sitting in front of this computer In Honduras wearing a sweater on a not yet hot morning. Something is happening and maybe Pope Francis is on to something.
Two or maybe three weeks ago we celebrated the first graduation of our bilingual high school. One of the graduates will be leaving in a few weeks to study at a community college in Tampa to sharpen his language skills in the hopes of studying architecture. This was an Olancho version of one small step for us and a giant step for Olancho . I hope this analogy will hold true in the future!
This week we had another group from Tennessee join us. They were joined by their parish priest, Father Tien Tran who was born in Vietnam and studied here in the States. They did an incredible job at building a site for another water project that will offer safe drinkable water to this community located in Guayavito, near Catacamas , a place some groups have visited . In addition they are accomplished painters as your can now see.
Another group from Louisiana arrived last evening and I will connect with them later today. We are still having difficulty with the sending of the blog and I have no idea who is and who is not receiving. If you are not receiving drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are working on trying to resolve the situation. Before closing meet last weeks group from Baton Rouge.
Can I wish you lots of steamers and or fried clams? Til next week, God Bless and get to the beach!!!!!!
Hi everyone! Looks like my computer is angry with me and won´t come out to play with me this morning. Fortunately yesterday we downloaded some photos to another system and I will hopefully try to transfer them today and tomorrow as well. I am waiting for Oscar Fuentes, my version of Bill Gates for some “tech” help. As I said last week I took Latin in school and was introduced to an AOL when I was Pastor of the Blessed Sacrament in Jamaica Plain. Had….Have and will Have plenty of catching up to do. I am a stranger in an electronic world. Let me share some photos of the first Graduation of our bilingual high school, Santa Clara Institute. These students started with us in kinder. ……so many years under the bridge have flown by!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yesterday a group from Saint Philip´s Parish returned home to Tennessee and after this their AA flight disembarked its passengers in Tegus to receive more volunteers from Baton Rouge. Accompanying the group from Tennessee was Father Tien Tran, associate pastor at Saint Philips in Franklin TN. He and his family left Vietnam in the late 60´s. Let´s visit this fine group of workers who started construction for another water project and some , cousins of Michelangelo , painted a school. Great legs!!!!!!!
I have travelled many miles from Newton Corner. Yes my world has become a Pentecost of many languages and Colors. Talk with you next week. In Boston for (please God) a few days in late August.
My cable TV keeps me in touch with USA news and there seems to be too much rain, tornadoes, drought and weather related serious problems. I pray you are all safe and secure in your homes or summer beach rentals.
Yesterday we had our monthly board conference call at my house and two board members were here with their volunteers. A second group will be coming next week. another board member Here then meet Lisa and Jackie along with Carlos our Executive Director. They come from Louisiana and have been part of our extended family for many years.
YESTERDAY At the conference call another board member informed us that an individual was moved by a visit here and especially at Nazareth for special needs, wants to help us via Matching Funds. He has already donated $10,000 to put the drive in motion. That is just incredible! Most of the Nazareth students are on scholarship. We have been blessed for 10 years with a 30 seat van donate by a still anonymous donor from Saint Luke’s in Temple Texas. After 10 years driving over really tough mountain roads and two hundred thousand miles , the bus is slowing down. Since Nazareth has grown from 3 students that were housed in a parish facility to its present site, designed for 48 to now with an enrollment of 80. I see the writing on the wall that tells us that we need a bigger bus to do the heavy leg work so the van can handle a lighter load. Those who have visited here can attest to the limitations of our transportation system, here in the city and the mountain villages. With Saint Paul I believe in Christ all things are possible but I have never seen Jesus write a check. His Disciples are now our supporters. Who said that here on earth God´s work must surely be our own. I will get back in touch next week but in the meantime if you have any suggestions as to how we can raise the other ten thousand………. PLEASE let me know.
TODAY Our North Americans have been holding a summer camp and now are also engaged in some tutorial adventures. Some were with me last Sunday, along with the first LA group for Mass. Here you can meet them.
Arrived last night another group from Tennessee. Some photos next week.
Again please give some thought to our bus situation. I fear to think of consequences if there was an accident in our van and harm done to these children. I guess all machines , mechanical and human , get rusty as the years roll on. The poor have enough problems in surviving and don´t need an accident to increase their sufferings. Go to the beach and grab some junk food and some healthy fruit. God Bless…………..until next week then!
Trust you are experiencing some free time and some rest during these less hurried days of summer.
Last week we celebrated the ordination of five men to be Transitional Deacons with Priesthood coming in December. This is a monumental day for Olancho with the largest class ever for this diocese which as Bishop Muldoon, the former bishop, once described as larger than Massachusetts. I get via e’mail some reports on the collaborative planning taking place in Boston and this first phase puts great emphasis on religious vocations and parish involvement in the process. I remember , some 50 years ago, not telling anyone that I was about to enter the seminary in 1960 or 61 because I figured I would be back home in 2 or at max 3 weeks. Wrong again! Apparently others saw more in my potential than I did. Not the first time! Good thing that only Divine Providence can read the future. Here meet the candidates of Olancho with my hope that they will be servants of Jesus and not princes ! These are not my words but belong to the Man from Argentina at the installation of new Archbishops in Rome last week.
The day before the ordinations we celebrated the first graduation of the bi’lingual high school with gratitude to many in the USA, our own Olancho Aid Foundation.org , many USA parishes and churches, both Catholic and non Roman communities and to a mighty Holy Spirit that would not allow us to doubt our ability to offer quality education for Olancho. I have many fotos and will have more next week.
Institute Santa Clara.
We were blessed to have with us a group of Students from Father Ryan High School in Tennessee doing construction on a house this week. Accompanies byt Father Gervan Menezes their chaplain and theology teacher Jonathan McGee . Blessed are those who let the Beatitudes take rood in their hearts and hands. No cement trucks here jut muscle from Disciples of Jesus .
Pack your coolers and get to the beach. I will be in the States the end of August for about ten days. Preaching at Saint John the Baptist Westport and after that a check up with my PCP and then…. well that is in the hands of Dr. Solomon. I have a return ticket for the first days of September and hopefully my 2014- 15 ¨ medical sabbatical¨ will have been just some preparation for a gym membership somewhere!!!. How is the corn this year? Take care until next time. Will have some Louisiana folks with me tomorrow for Mass in Jutiquile. God Bless……………….
Can I hope that you have a wonderful vacation with all that summer brings starting this fourth of July!
A special salute to Becky and Paul Federico , who are friends since the creation of the world. I wish you both some relief for your sore backs after moving boxes from one nest to another on this journey we call life. Life is a much shorter trip than we took to John Denver´s Rocky Mountain High to the Promised Land of the Cleveland Cavaliers and later the Burbs of New Hampshire. Life does pass too far and too fast. From CATS , may our¨ memories live again ¨ with those who are with us now or have been . …… there are many fabrics what are part of the fabric of our being.
This has been a busy week and given that many of you may be sitting for another few hours waiting for the Bourne and Sagamore bridges to welcome you ……………. or bring you home ….. let me eliminate verbiage and just share photos. Summer, as I recall, was a great opportunity for short sermons at early Masses and race track surge to escape from the church parking lot ! Mia cula, mia cula, mia maxima culpa for some tech errors the photos last week were a blur. Sorry I took Latin in high school and now I wish I had and met Bill Gates. Where was Internet then. Here then a repeat our last Saturday of June and a welcome to Grill and deck time.
Yes I try to get a hair cut ever 6 months……………even when I don´t need one
Yesterday one of the first Nazareth students came by for a visit with his mother and aunts including his brother Julio who is a lawyer and managing his dad´s land and cattle. Here meet my friend Andy Garcia a graduate of Nazareth . His parents donated the land where we were able to build Nazareth
Many Thanks to Amy and Allan also from Saint Elizabeth for their significant financial help in this water purification project and repairing chairs in the Colonial Laguna Seca. This for Mary Roy and her volunteers from NH who have brought ……..for many years ……shampoos and tooth paste and brushes to the river. Also I returned to bless their church after the West Acton group fixed the roof and painted the building.
Former volunteers who returned for the graduation of our first high school. You have been wonderful examples of education and service
Enjoy the parades and fireworks. Til next time. Don´t eat too many Fenway Park All Beef Hotdogs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is almost July 4th and that means all types of potato salad, Coleman hot on sandwiches with Swizz , swordfish and great smells from the grill. Looks like I am still a North American!!! Enjoy the holidays.
On Tuesday I was so delighted to have some visitors, former volunteers who came back for the First Graduation of out Bilingual High School , which took place yesterday and this evening a fiesta. One day was to meet all the legal requirements , receive diploma documents and the next day their celebration’ fiesta . Arriving back were some of the North Americans who planted the seeds with the conviction that it is education that will produce good fruit. Red Sox caps salute Bishop Muldoon who believe in this project and was a significant help. We at Olancho Aid remain grateful to Bishop Bonello for sharing his interest in our projects and dreams! Blessed be God for ever!!! I never dreamed 13 years ago that I would see this day. I never thought that we would create the Olancho Aid Foundation and all that has been accomplished for people here because of you. I guess there are a lot of things I never thought about! Apparently Jesus had scrolled our names on His Dell Netbook. Upon leaving a hospital an attending physician came to say good by and said that he had no human explanation that explained why I was alive. In response I said that there must be then a divine reason . Perhaps some day we both might see that Dell! In the meantime add me to sixth place with Saint Thomas Aquinas proofs. Would you like to visit some of our former volunteers ? Of course you do!
This is the time of yeasr that you may be hearing from Wendy the person in charge of our scholarship program. Education will change this country . Here then is Wendy and also meet Juliette who left Saturday to be with her family in New York . She was the contact person who interviewed potential volunteers and facilitated many………… as in many, many projects.
Last Sunday I celebrated a Mass of First Communion in a community where volunteers have built houses, it is called Potrellios. Here then meet some ¨before and after ´ children alongwith their teacher, Rosemery Godoy.
A week or so ago a strong storm passed thru us and destroyed part of the house of young couple with two children. I remember them as teenage and later active members of the youth group. His work is driving a motorbike that takes people from the main road to their homes after they have done errands or need to catch transportation to Juticalpa. You will not see him on The Sharks any time soon. The community stood at the door after Mass and received donations for them and from the help many give me I was able to help them a bit. Why else else are we here if is not to help one another?
Let me share with you some photos from the second group from Holy Family in Tennessee with Steve Hayes from Tennessee and is member of our board.
In a few hours we will have the ordination of 5 candidates as Deacons and hopefully before Christmas the five will be ordained priests of Olancho for Olancho. There will be a large number of people at the ordination today and pray God in the long run a great day for this diocese. More next week. Have some more photos of various events this week but do not have much time just now to transfer them to the computer. I wish you lots of sun, sand and smiles for the 4th of July. Keep this wandering disciple of Jesus before you in prayer. God Bless.
Hi Everyone. Let me wish you all a wonderful a summer of sweet corn on the cob along with just off the vine tomatoes. In my former life summer meant Coors Lite, ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches with the most recent best seller at the beach. Since some of our schools operate on a USA calendar we are now at the time of reports and graduations.
Most of June and all of July we will be having groups with us. We are saying bienvenidos and adios, welcome and safe trip back to Tennessee ,South Carolina, MA and Louisiana. We are so blessed ! Our AKA – Honduran Hilton , invites all of you to come visit and come to work.
Later today some of the long term school volunteers will be finishing up and heading back to the next chapter in their lives and some more arrived a few days ago for a summer school program and in August more will join us for the year. In the last few years as the USA economy and job market improved and graduates needed to choose between the volunteer experience and a secure job, many volunteer organizations are feeling the pinch, so to speak. You have heard me say, The Lord has led us this far and will not let down. We have seen a very significant number of new students in the high school and at Nazareth with special needs. The number applying for scholarship help is constantly increasing and I do pray God that more people join to help support special needs children who are among the most forgotten here but not with us. Presently with more than 150 students on scholarships, I gave thanks to those who help us, help others! Why else are we here if not to be here in Jesus name to lift up one another!
On Friday morning some faculty from the Psychology department came for a visit and we had a chance to get caught us of some things . They tell me this area of studies is increasing each year and that is a healthy contribution for the people in Olancho and hopefully will contribute to helping us prepare well formed students in the process. Thank you for te wonderful basket of fruit they brought. I remember rowing up the suggestion that you should never go to someone´s house ¨ with your arms swinging¨ ….. better to carry something.
Last week the TN group was preparing to install solar panels in one community and tubes for water in the bath rooms in 2 of our school programs. Do you think we might have anticipated the Pope Francis´s encyclical of last Thursday.
I am all confirmed with a medical visit the end of August and I will need a companion . Working now to get Alfredo a visa. He is with me 24-7 and is a nurse. Pray God we win this one with the USA Embassy. I am still a bit ´wobble´ Go get some corn and watermelon and enjoy your weekend . Talk more next week. God Bless and let us all listen to Pope Francis! If it is our planet is our responsibility we must take care of it……………………….. for your grand children and great grand children.
This week we had the second group from Holy Family Parish Tennessee with us and a few days later there arrived a group from Saint Elizabeth Parish in West Acton MA. I am immensely grateful to parishes who sponsor and promote participation. With two groups we had to scramble for living space. When you run out of beds there is always some floor space and at Nazareth there is a kitchen made possibly by the Knights of Malta, our version of a Hilton!!!!!!
A new face , but at the same time is not a new face , Padre Dan St.Laurent who has returned to Olancho from New Hampshire and will help out with programs at the university and at a parish that some have visited, San Francisco de La Paz. Last Thursday he celebrated Corpus Christi with the students and staff. Here then meet Fr. Dan.
On Sunday I celebrated in Jutiquile with the pastor from Holy Family – TN, Father Joe McMahon who led a procession from the church to the local park where people had set up some altars with the Monstrance containing the Host. Since our roads are pretty bad , it would have been incredibly dumb for me to do it as I have in the past. The weekend before the other priest from Holy Family , Father Justin Ravines , was with us .
Each Sunday and during the week people bring Holy Communion to the sick and I like to give them a small gift to let them know how much their ministry is appreciated. Here then meet are our women apostles.
A very popular custom is a blessing of a new born at or about 40 days. It is very popular here as you can now see.
Trying to arrange a medical visit in Boston during August and a visit to Westport at the same time. Presently I have on campus therapy Monday to Friday. Talk with you next Saturday. Be kind to one another and God Bless!
I am running late this week and was ¨under the weather¨last Saturday and unable to be in contact with you. Better late than never.
I did see that the New England area was scheduled to get some hot weather and please God, after all the cold you experienced, the cranky voices of those complaining about the heat did not erase the memories and difficulties of of a bad winter. Sometimes memories are short lived.
Last Saturday we celebrated First Communion at the school along with many baptisms. I always live with hope, sprinkled with some seasoned doubts from my dear friend Saint Thomas , that parents take seriously their commitments to ¨be the best of teachers in the ways of faith¨. Here then First Communions from Santa Clara.
In a few weeks we will have the first graduation from the bilingual high school. Many of the first students have been with us for 13 – 14 years. There are some students in our first graduation class with extraordinary potential and I hope and dream that they find education to be an exciting adventure that opens doors to discover their own potential in finding new ideas and new opportunities as they begin their university studies. To this day I honestly do not remember much of my own graduation ……………more than 55 years ago. I do vaguely recall being asked what I wanted as a gift and answering ¨an airplane ticket to the North Pole¨! Yes some thought I had lost my mind . I explained that I wanted to see the world from other people´s eyes. That is my DNA……., has been there my high school days. A long,long time ago…………………………… Here then some who are making history in Olancho.
Last week the first group from TN arrive led by Don Dilucchio and next week Steve Hayes will lead another group from the parish. Both men sit on our board of directors and bring to Olancho and our programs significant business and management skills. Look forward to seeing the second group in Jutiquile tomorrow morning.
We are grateful to Keith Favazza from Rockland who was here a month or so ago and at Nazareth painted a mural of the Last Supper using faces of the students at Nazareth. If you have really good eyes you might see a white haired priest with a red stole passing thru the upper room looking for the same Jesus. Thanks Keith.
Blessings for this day and grateful thanks for this Sacrament. Til next time.
Blessings to all for Pentecost. From the various journals and publications I read there does appear to be a Pentecost effect that Pope Francis has helped to inspire in many parts of the world. Remember, he is not the church, he is another pilgrim accompanying us on a journey! I have frequently heard from those who visit us, the joy they experience and the attention they receive from worshiping in our rural communities. I am often confused when I am visiting parishes in the States and observe the large numbers of people who detour from the Communion Line to a bee line in the parking lot. I have become accustomed to guessing the age of the bee liners and many have earned AARP Frequent 5pm dinner awards. It never happens here. People come late, including myself and stay late. The poor continue to serve as good teachers who practice good manners, love the Lord and hear His Voice.
Last Sunday after Mass we blessed the new water project that brings filtered drinking water to another community. This is the third project with Living Waters for the World Directed by the Olancho Aid Foundation under the leadership of our engineer Pablo Sarmiento and Oscar Fuentes ,the man who took these pictures. Here then take a look.
By the way that is not gin in the glasses! We are raising a toast with purified water. Many thanks to all who made this possible. Good water means good health!
I have said many times that while Baptism is an important sacrament, it is second to La Presentation or the blessing 40 days after birth, that for many is almost more important. You can always be baptized I guess but forty days comes onlyl once:
For three days last week we celebrated baptisms and processions , including carrying a large than life statue of San Isidro, Patron Saint of Jutiquile . Here then some pics of Jutiquile.
Later today the Latin American Church will ¨sing a new song unto the Lord¨with the beatification of Archbishop Romero from neighboring El Salvador. A number of students from this campus left yesterday after the university graduation to be in attendance. Along with Pope Francis let us pray for an end to the increased violence that unfortunately still shatters not only El Salvador, our neighbor ,but most of Central America. When working in both East Boston and Somerville I had some contact with people from El Salvador . Who knew then that God was laying the foundation for another stage in my journey. My life has been a Pentecost of languages opening doors and ¨tongues of fire¨that I never dreamed of.
This week I received on Facebook a note from Lisa and Peter Leonard from Marshfield Massachusetts. They married when I was at Saint Catherine in Somerville and I was with them for their 25th wedding renewal of vows. I copied this photo and text that I edited for brevity . Thanks for sharing it with me and now let me share it as a parable for Pentecost. Since Jesus chose to speak briefly , in parables and my own preaching style is similar, allow me – on Pentecost Sunday – to see the world with the eyes of a 4 year old.
Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. My 4-year-old daughter Meredith asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her and she dictated these words and photo………………
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her. I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and
play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
We put the letter, photo and return address in an envelope and dropped them off at the local post office. Meredith pasted several stamps on the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. A few days later there was a package on our front porch addressed to Meredith. She opened it and there was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies, with a photo of Abbey & Meredith and this note that reads:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love.
I mentioned last week we have begun the process of moving the administrative offices of the Foundation from this campus to the site where Nazareth´s special needs children are. Here then are a few photos of the move. I am told that this year there are 80 children in Nazareth and if it were not for those who support this work of mercy, then there will be, as a song says, trouble in River City. I will have some more photos of the new offices next week.
I have First Communions today at ten so let me get ready. My plans are to head to the Boston area in August and get some medical reviews done. It will be a year in July that I ended up in a coma but am feeling much better. When the Lord said, Dick, ¨take a break¨He meant it! Okay, Okay, I heard you !!!!!!
Talk with you next week, may our faith bring lives full of compassion. Children of the sixties, come sing……………….·¨ let the Son shine in¨.