"The Preaching" Casa Fray Pedro de Córdoba DOMINICOS Aptdo. 2608, San Pedro Sula, HONDURAS
Tele/Fax: (504) 57-29-20
Yahweh's hand touched me and the Spirit carried off, leaving me in a plateau full of bones... Then Yahweh said to me, "Speak on my behalf to these bones and say to them: 'Dry bones,: listen to the word of Yahweh. I will put a spirit into you and you will come back to life'"... I spoke as Yahweh told me..."Come, Spirit, from the four directions and blow over these dead so that they may live... Yahweh then said to me, "These bones are all the people of Israel . They say:'Our bones have dried up; our hope is lost'...Therefore proclaim to them this word; I, Yahweh, will bring you out of your tombs, my people, and I will take you back to the land of Israel... I will place my Spirit within you and you will come back to life." (Ez.37,1-14)
PENTECOST: NEW BEGINNINGSWe have celebrated another Pentecost in Honduras, and once again we are filled with the hope of new beginnings, new life, as God's promise unfolds in our midst. In John's gospel, Jesus promises his friends that even though he must go, he will not leave them orphans (14:18), that the Spirit of Truth will guide them, teach them (14:26) and be for them the fountain of a new and everlasting peace (20:21). All of us form part of the circle of the friends of Jesus.
One need not be a great prophet to know that our land, our world is still filled with fields of dried-up bones. Bodies of the innocent poor still appear daily in Rwanda and Burundi, Liberia and Chechenia, Northern Ireland and Colombia, Lebanon and Pakistan, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. And even more people, many of whom live outwardly very successful lives, languish and waste away, crying out with the people of Israel,"Our hope is lost."
"Speak on my behalf," were Yahweh's words to Ezekiel. "Go and proclaim to the people that I am going to give them my very own Spirit!" And so from the times of our Jewish ancestors, and confirmed in the person of Jesus, we today seek to be faithful to Yahweh's command: Speak! Announce! Proclaim! Preach!
Our newsletter is entitled "LA PREDICACIÓN", "THE PREACHING", because we Dominicans, following in the footsteps of Dominic of Guzman, Catherine of Siena, Bartolomé de las Casas and so many others, want to continue living the "HOLY PREACHING" that gave life to our Order almost eight hundred years ago. A preaching that uplifts, gives hope, denounces evil and injustice, enkindles love among the forgotten and abandoned of the world: that is our challenge. To preach Good News in a world of dried-up bones, dried-up hopes, dried-up resources, dried-up rain forests, dried-up justice--that is the Pentecost call to Ezekiel, to our Dominican community in Honduras and to you, our friends.
SOME "NEW BEGINNINGS" IN HONDURASMany of you are aware of the long, sometimes frustrating, and deeply grace-filled process that our community has shared with Melvin Flores, a 10-year-old from San Pedro Sula who was diagnosed last year with leukemia. After months of searching for a hospital (no possible treatment in Honduras), struggling for visas, begging for money for plane tickets, and storming the heavens for intercession, Melvin finally received a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Martha, in February at St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis. The latest word from the doctors: "What leukemia?" A wonderful NEW BEGINNING indeed! And the prayers and donations of many of you provided the Good News that God showered on Melvin and his family. Please join us in thanking God for this miracle and for the generous solidarity of the staff at St. Jude's.
The formation of lay ministers and leaders continues to be our team's pastoral priority. We have recently developed three new courses to be given to the Delegates of the Word: Introduction to the Gospels, Pastoral Planning and Accompaniment of Christian communities, and a Level II Preaching course. Luís Roberto Aquilar, a Dominican from Costa Rica and the newest member of our team, has taken charge of coordinating the new series of "LA LEVADURA" ("THE LEAVEN") workshops, a two-year program of formation: for urban lay ministers which began in January. Two hundred people from the city and the surrounding poor barrios are participating in the weekly lectures which we alternate giving along with two lay members from our team. We are now in the series of lectures on the Old Testament, and the enthusiasm of the people is contagious. ¡Bravo! Luís Roberto!
Jim has been asked by our bishop to oversee the new diocesan commission on Health Ministry. Due to Jim's work these past years with the growing AIDS epidemic in San Pedro Sula and his participation in a National Ecumenical AIDS commission, he is in a position to push the Church towards more direct education and involvement in the AIDS situation. By the year 2000, they estimate that 120 people will die weekly in our city of San Pedro Sula (population 500,000). In early June, Jim and Kevin hosted and participated in an AIDS training workshop given by a team of Maryknoll-sisters from El Salvador.
Brian's "new beginning" has come in the form of a small cabin in the mountains, where he is spending some days each month for contemplative prayer and study. He combines the silence and solitude with weekend visits to small pesant villages scattered throughout the mountains. Communing with the surrounding natural beauty, listening to the silence of the psalms and walking to the villages to celebrate the Eucharist and meet with the delegates of the Word are helping him to discover more of the contemplative richness of Dominican spirituality, and are renewing his energy for the preaching of the Word.
Kevin's "new" ministry is not exactly one that he set out searching for. We have outgrown our living quarters and are building two new guest rooms and a small building that we may eventually make into a Christian bookstore. With his generous spirit, Kevin is overseeing the construction (minus the hard hat!) and the paying of the workers. (At least they call themselves "workers"...they seem to be experts at taking coffee breaks!) The generosity of our many benefactors has made this p project possible. ¡Gracias to Kevin, and to our benefactors! Now when you visit you will not have to sleep in a hammock!
Another "new beginning" this year was the reception of three Hondurans into the Dominican pre-novitiate program. Two of them, Carlos and Reinaldo (from the university ministry and "La Levadura" respectively) have been in San Salvador with other Central American pre-novices since January. The the third, Cristó coordinator of the thousand or so diocesan Delegates of the Word, is spending his year as part of our community. If all goes well, the three will begin their novitiate in early 1997, where another Honduran, Eduardo, is presently a novice. Please pray for these "new beginnings".
New life was brought to us from January to May of this year through the presence of Bro. Michael O'Rourke, O.P., from the Southern Province of the U.S. His diaconate service was made very tangible during his four months with us through his university ministry, preaching, his Sunday morning pancakes with exotic fruits, and his unending skills with the computer and our many faltering household gadgets! "Miguel" will be ordained to the presbyterate on June 15, and we wish him many blessings in his new ministry among the Latino community in New Orleans.
And so, friends, sisters and brothers in the Risen Christ, we here in Honduras celebrate NEW BEGINNINGS, NEW HOPE, NEW LIFE. The Civil wars, political kidnappings and deepening poverty of the Central American countries during these past twenty years have left a trail of dry bones that at times looks 1ike a dead end. But each day we witness NEW LIFE in the people with whom we minister: in Gloria, a Delegate of the Word, who walks three hours through the mountains to visit a sick boy and his family... in Isis and David, university students, who are putting their law degrees at the service of the poor through the diocese's new legal aid office...in Nelson, a young man with AIDS, singing songs of thanks to God just hours before his death...in Nery, a peasant farmer, who struggles for land rights for the poor. We are indeed blessed to be witnesses to the Spirit of God blowing across this land. Join us in giving thanks!
As always, we invite you to participate in our life through your love for us, your prayers, your own involvement in works of compassion and justice, and your donations, which can be sent to:
St. Dominic Mission Society,
1909 S. Ashland Av., Chicago 60608
(with PR0JECT HONDURAS written on the check).
Luís Roberto Aguilar, Jim Barnett, Kevin Carroll, Brian Pierce.
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