Posted by: Honduras Mission Team | June 13, 2014

Wednesday – Day 5

Today, we hit the ground running before the crack of dawn. We traveled a few short blocks from the elderly home to the Good Samaritan and St. Vincent de Paul centers. This is a home for women who live in the aldeas and are in their last month of pregnancy. Since they live hours away from the nearest medical facility, they stay here and are cared for until they give birth. The center is run by volunteers who help care for the women, providing them with basic necessities.

At the early hour of 5:45a, Fr. Brian offered Mass for them, even celebrating most of it in Spanish. Magda and Margarida helped translate the homily.
The Mass was a highlight for many members of the team. Barb was struck by how fitting the Gospel (Matthew 10:7-13) was for the moment. Jesus told the disciples to go out and serve and to spread peace to others.
Magda and Dana both noticed how, even though some parts of the Mass were in Spanish and other parts in English, the entire congregation was able to follow along and each responded in their own language. Our Mass is Catholic and truly universal. It was a beautiful coming together of language and culture where, in the end, we are one and the same.

Another highlight was the display of reverence our own Fr. Brian had for the Eucharist. The host in Honduras are extremely flakey and brittle and pattens are rarely used outside of the Cathedral. While serving communion, the tiniest flake of the host fell to the floor. Without hesitation, Fr. Brian bent down, retrieved the fragment and placed it in his mouth. For some, that may not seem like a big deal when you envision the clean, well-kept floors of our Saint Michael’s sanctuary. The fact that this was the well-travelled, not-so-clean, floors of a third world country still did not detour Father from his dedication to our Lord.

After Mass, we stayed at the center and helped serve breakfast to the women. We also passed out some of the extra blankets that our Saint Michael’s parish children assembled. The women and the Center volunteers were very grateful for our service. Jane’s highlight of this event was how beautiful it was to see different groups coming together to serve a community in need.

It was during breakfast that we met Nelly and her caretaker. Nelly is a 7 year old child with the physical stature of a 3 year old. She has cerebral palsy and needs constant care. Nelly’s mother passed away recently and has since been in the care of a family friend who has unselfishly taken in this child as one of her own. It is no small feat to take on an extra child with special needs as this caretaker has 11 children of her own.
Nelly touched the hearts of the group, but especially Margarida, Barb and Greg. Together they learned that Nelly had not had her medication because of the inability to afford it. Collectively, they went to the pharmacy and filled her prescription for the next 45 days. They also chipped in to purchase some basic necessities. The gratitude and relief from the caretaker was only overshadowed by the joy and laughter from Nelly as she interacted with the group.

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After breakfast, Sor Dinora gave a tour of the Catholic high school the girls attend through the support of our St. Michael’s parish. It was heart warming to see the product of the service St. Michael’s has helped with for the past ten years. It is our hope, through continued blessings and support, none of the girls in the orphanage will ever be denied the privilege of a Catholic education. We then toured the public grade school where the younger girls attend.

The morning concluded with our group serving the elderly pizza for lunch and then meeting with the girls from the orphanage after they returned home from school.

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Later that afternoon, we met with one of the local priests, Fr. Julio. He enlightened us on the magnitude of his duties of being only one of a few priests serving the Santa Rosa community of approximately 53,000 persons. A typical day for him consists of saying multiple Masses, teaching at the university and presiding over a funeral. Fr. Brian remarked how difficult it must be for him to minister individually to his congregation. Our team recognized how blessed we are at St. Michaels to have three priests available to serve our parish in a multitude of ways. After touring the rectory, Fr. Julio walked us to the Cathedral where the tour ended and Fr. Julio promptly dressed in his vestment to preside over a funeral that was already waiting.

On our way back, we stopped by to visit with one of the girls who has previously graduated from the orphanage. During that visit, we met with the local order of Franciscan nuns who serve the community in different ways. One nun is a nurse who serves the maternity unit of the hospital. Another is a teacher who educates the disabled. A third nun ministers to the local prison. She invited Fr. Brian to consider coming to the prison to offer Mass. After some discernment and discussing the safety of the group, Father agreed to celebrate Mass later this week.

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We finished the evening at the orphanage visiting with the nuns and girls. After an exhausting game of futball (soccer), we reflected on the day and retired for the evening.

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A final thought:
The people of Honduras live a laborious life. Day-to-day life is task-filled and hard. Adults and children alike do not enjoy the leisure time we have been accustomed to. It is ironic to think the women staying at the pregnancy center, about to deliver their babies, will most likely have less “labor” during this time than when they return back to their homes in the aldeas.
The volunteers, who so graciously give of their time, energy and money, do so tirelessly and without complaint.

We are called to serve—to take care of others in need. We do so knowing it can sometimes be exhausting. It can sometimes be difficult. It can sometimes be without result. Yes, it can be laborious. But it is always a labor of love.

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Responses

  1. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. What an inspiring insight to the daily challenges and yet the joy which they share God’s grace to serving those in need.


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