10 years after planting the seeds of this wonderful relationship
October 2003 a relationship began between two parishes who were unknown to each other - one in Indianapolis Indiana and one in Lepaterique Honduras. Most of those gathered in that room during the discernment had no idea where Honduras was or how to get there. Yet the Spirit was our guide and through her we found our way.
The first trip was July 2004; the six of us were unsure and hesitant as we stood outside the airport waiting to be picked up by a priest we had never met. Somehow even though the arrival times had been confused and no one was there to meet us, we could once again feel the presence of something bigger than us showing the way.
Fr. Mario eventually came and got us; we spent some time in Tegucigalpa and toward evening we started the journey to Lepaterique. Up that mountain in the dark with six strangers Fr. Mario was the best host he could be during the drive. When we entered the town late in the evening the church bells were ringing and about 100 people stood outside to greet us. Inside the church there were many more singing songs and reaching out to greet us with hugs, kisses, and sharing as much love as they could with our group.
This year June 2013 twenty-five people visited our sister parish; some had been there before but there were a large number of people who had never been. For the first time in 10 years, I was not present for the welcome; severe weather resulted in multiple flight delays and changes so that it was midnight when I and my three traveling companions finally arrived. Several of our fellow travelers had arrived earlier on different flights so we missed seeing their faces as they experienced the welcome but the next day their stories were amazing.
Ten years have passed since this relationship began and there is change in Lepaterique. The population has doubled. Busses, taxis, and more traffic than I would have ever thought possible move about in Lepaterique over roads that are still dirt and where the top speed is about 15-20mph. There are more businesses including cantinas which add to the problem of drunkenness. The parish leaders are aware of the problems that come with a growing population and try to keep everything in proper perspective.
During my first trip to Lepaterique I heard how there was no hope for the basics we have in this country such as education, jobs, healthcare, and clean water. Now some of these needs are being met with the help of St. Monica parishioners. Even more than that we have been told that we give our sisters and brothers hope.
And we return each year to visit and share our lives; no one has done this in the past.
Sunday we celebrated Mass outdoors with hundreds of people from all over the parish walking hours to get there. We celebrated ten years of a relationship that has given hope to our sisters and brothers. We share in that hope with them. We are one family in Christ learning from each other how to love unconditionally.
I stood in the back watching the crowd assemble seeing good friends and getting reacquainted with others I had not seen in for some time. It was good to hug, pray, sing, and share our lives. Many times during the Mass I fought back tears wondering why God chose me to plant the seeds of this wonderful relationship.
Receiving the Eucharist that day I was touched by an overwhelming sense of peace and the words “Well Done Good and Faithful Servant.”
Paz, Kevin Corydon