Friday, April 19, 2013

Holy Week in La Ceiba


Being in La Ceiba for "Jesús en La Playa," enabled us to participate in the various celebrations of Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday (above and below), and including the Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday Mass and Adoration, Good Friday early morning Stations of the Cross, afternoon Liturgy and evening Santo Entierro, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night. I presided at celebrations in two of the neighborhood communities (really small sub-parishes) connected to the cathedral: San José Esposo (St. Joseph the Husband) and Inmaculado Corazón de María (Immaculate Heart of Mary).

Bishop Michael Lenihan blesses the palm at the beginning of Mass in front of the cathedral (above),
and leads the procession through the streets (below).

The banner reads: "Holy Week: A Time of Grace and Conversion
A Pascal Parish that Lives and Celebrates Its Faith with Joy
St. Isidore Parish, Diocese of La Ceiba."

A Garifuna (indigenous Honduran-African) woman brings up a copy of
the Catechism of the Catholic Church at the offertory.

Bishop Michael blesses the Missioners of Christ who will be helping with
"Jesús en la Playa" evangelization outreach.


Fr. Herald washing feet at the Holy Thursday celebration
 in San José Esposo (St. Joseph the Spouse) community in La Ceiba.


Early morning Good Friday Stations of the Cross through the streets in San José Esposo community.

The Eighth Station: Jesus Comforts the Women of Jerusalem.

Families carry the cross together during the Stations (above and below).

Fr. Herald preaching during the Good Friday liturgy in Immaculate Heart of Mary community.

Statues carried in the "Santo Entierro (Holy Burial)" procession, Good Friday evening
(above and below).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jesús en la Playa [Jesus at the Beach]

The "Jesús en la Playa" Team with Bishop Michael Lenihan in front of St. Isidore Cathedral, La Ceiba.
This past Holy Week, Franciscan Mission Outreach - in collaboration with the  Diocese of La Ceiba and Missioners of Christ, carried out a unique and creative evangelization effort called "Jesús en la Playa (Jesus at the Beach)" to reach out to the many tourists who come to the coast at this time of year. The idea began with Fr. Rene Flores, chancellor of the diocese, and builds on earlier efforts to distribute the schedule of Holy Week celebrations to hotels and other tourist centers. Fr. Rene was able to obtain from the tourism office of the municipal government space for a booth along the promenade of one of the main beaches. That served as our base.

Our site on the boardwalk. Wilmer Hernandez is leading songs.

Our next door neighbors, diocesan Radio San Isidro.

Our "competition:" Tigo mobile phones (above) and Coca Cola (below - Pepsi was there, too). 

Children watching a Bible video with Bishop Michael Lenihan.
We engaged in a number of different activities designed to communicate the message of the Gospel and the presence of the Church to the many people who passed by. These included music and songs, skits, videos, activities for children, times of prayer (the Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet), distributing small flyers and personal interaction. Our desire was to be a positive and encouraging reminder of the meaning of Holy Week, and a bit of a "door" through which people could enter into that experience.

A large crowd gathers for a skit featuring Jamie (foreground) and Diego (as Jesus).

A dramatic presentation of the Last Supper and Passion.

Missioners of Christ Margarita and Eric.

Missioners of Christ leader Carol Restaine, listens attentively to a passerby. 

Roger speaking with a visitor.

There were many child street vendors who stopped at our booth, including the little boy selling cotton candy (above), and the boy selling gum (in the basket) who paused to color a Bible scene (below).

One of the many colorful sights at the beach.

Two "live art (arte en acción)" students from the capital city of Tegucigalpa
who used our booth to store their supplies. 

A little boy picked up my camera and used it to take this shot of me trying to work out some logistical details in the loud surroundings of the boardwalk.

Sunset over the ocean.
"Jesús en la Playa" was extremely well received, and we are hopeful of carrying out an even more developed outreach for Holy Week 2014.

The team and I after the "Santo Entierro (Holy Burial) on Good Friday evening.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Updates: Africa, YOUTH 2OOO, Honduras


Fr. Chris Unachukwo, MSP, the Nigerian missionary who is now serving at the House of Mercy (rebuilt by Franciscan Mission Outreach) in Torit, South Sudan, recently sent me these photos of the Chrismas celebrations he and Fr. Noel, MSP, lead in some remote villages in the diocese, with the help of the blue Toyota Land Cruiser (photo below) and equipment and resources provided by FMO. They were able to use the projector, generator and sound system to show the birth of Jesus in a film in the local tribal language.

With the help of Dr. Will Stallings of Virginia, in January of this year Franciscan Mission Outreach was able to send a blood analyzer (photo below) to St. Theresa Catholic Hospital in Isohe, South Sudan, to improve and expand the kinds of blood tests the hospital is able to provide. In March, we received the very sad news that Bishop Akio Johnson Mutek of Torit died suddenly as a result of kidney problems. The diocese mourns his loss and awaits the appointment of a new pastor. 


Franciscan Mission Outreach worked with the leadership team of YOUTH 2OOO New York to develop a new format for their well-known Eucharistic youth retreats called "Face to Face." The retreats now take place in a space surrounded by banners with photos of saints and Scripture quotes related to the new theme. It launched in September of last year to a overwhelmingly positive response, and has had several other events since.


With the support of Franciscan Mission Outreach, Missioners of Christ continue to regularly work with and minister to the boys and young men at the Granja Jesús de Nazareth (Jesus of Nazareth Farm). At Christmas they distributed gifts collected by Sacred Heart Parish St. Marys, PA (above), and earlier this year they distributed Spanish Catholic Youth Bibles to the older boys in the youth group (below.)