and a Joyous Passover!
This week Tegucigalpa has closed down for Semana Santa (Holy Week). The custom in Honduras is that everyone heads for the beach. If you can't make it to the beach, then go to the river. If you can't make it to the river, buy a plastic pool. (They are selling them down the street under the bridge.)
Semana Santa has become the secular equivalent of our Christmas in the north. For many, Christmas means vacation and presents. Only a few follow the spiritual journey of the season. The same can be said of this week in Honduras.
However, at Santa Maria de los Angeles, our cathedral in Tegucigalpa, we are celebrating the passion and resurrection this week. A few others and I have been attending.
Regarding the mission work, progress is being made toward building the new church 'Buen Pastor' in Santa Maria. We have just finished installing the security fence around the property. This phase was a test to see what kind of construction our contractor, Oscar Rolando Rodriquez, could deliver.
And he did deliver. He showed us that he was a meticulous craftsman, who could put love and care into his work.
Fr. Tom Seitz, from the Good Shepherd in Lake Wales, Florida, and sponsor of this project, recently visited with a mission team. They helped prune the lemon trees, planted avocados and cleaned up the construction debris on the new church property. Fr. Tom, also, gave a three-session presentation on stewardship for the church members and taught communion preparation classes for the kids.
The next step in the church construction is the foundation. The fundraising is still in process, and so the work will progress in phases.
On the opposite side of the country, we are moving ahead with the new Church of Emanuel in Coxen Hole, Roatán. We have hired a structural engineer and are preparing a final set of drawings. This project, too, is about to break soil. We hope to have a foundation package ready to go in a few weeks. This church is sponsored by St. Brides in New Brunswick, Canada. They are planning to send a construction team in May.
There are other projects as well. At Muchilena, our retreat center on the north coast, we are designing new bathrooms for all the existing rooms. We have only communal bathrooms now. In Puerto Cortes, I am designing another church, Jesús el Salvador, Jesus the Saviour. Finally, in Omoa, I'm working with Ana Reid, my fellow SAMS missionary, to design a cafè for her church.
But the best news is that I have just received my residency card. Now I don't have to leave the country every three months to renew my visa. The travelling, while fun at first, did grow tedious, not mention expensive. So I give special thanks for this gift.
Peace be with you all this season,