Update for Ecuador

In my preparations for our AGM in Lima last month I came across this quote:

The guarantee of one’s prayer is not in saying a lot of words.
The guarantee of one’s petition is very easy to know:
How do I treat the poor?- because that is where God is.
The degree to which you approach them -that is how you approach your God.
The way you look at them is the way you look at God.
The above came from a role-model, Archbishop Oscar Romero and thank God he left us such great wisdom before his murder. I have been reflecting on this quote many times of late as I am challenged here to live my priesthood and human life.

Inicio Lunes18 Febrero en aulas de la Iglesia Parroquial, El Bautismo De Jesus – Cursos Vacacionales – (Summer School!) Now, i will leave the following for you to figure out what we have going on here in our parish while schools are closed! Teclado, Ingles, Danza: Arabe y Ballet, Guitarra, Pintura, Dibujo, Matematica, Deporte y Lectura. There are 146 young children signed up for the next 6 weeks all led by Silvia, Rostro Volunteers – Greg Torres and Heidi Schleif and Parish Leaders.

Last Wednesday, two friends departed Monte Sinai after a 10 day stay with me. Kieran Dwyer, ENNIS and his brother-in-law Dermot Daniels, DUBLIN helped continue build the house of Andres Puentes Tamayo and his wife Michelle and Son David Jesus. We are in the rainy season BUT the lads witnessed little real rains! To my disappointment and their disbelief we slagged much about whether it was rainy season or not! The lads can be so proud as the house is now at roof level and over next weeks will be roofed. Their visit gave me support, renewed encouragement and wisdom. During our chats and reflections on life/work/ministry here we debated for many an hour the contrasts of cultures/language and traditions. Can I thank The Somalia Shop in ENNIS for the Jerseys! There was sheer joy on young faces as these were distributed.The jerseys will be looked after and worn proudly and i smile as i pass houses now and see Irish Jerseys on the washing lines! Thanks Kieran and Dermot for a wonderful fulfilling, enjoyable and successful visit. Your time, work and generosity was appreciated. Your presence here in Monte Sinai gave the people further hope that as our world gets smaller we are making it known that Monte Sinai is on the up and rising out of poverty.

We continue building the next classroom in our Catholic Primary School San Filipe. The builders are progressing rapidly as these next classrooms are being built on top of the ones we built last year. So, at present the new Library and some more toilets are also being built. The children are off School now until the First week of May when hopefully the rains and floods will be gone. The Dengue Disease spread by Mosquito’s is very prevalent at the moment. Many are becoming ill and have to be hospitalised.

Our course in health here in the Parish run by Department of Health is going well with 80 people in attendance 3 days a week. This course takes place for 3 years and this is the second year of it. Naturally, prevention and treatments for Dengue is priority here at present.

Recently, groups of students visited from Villenova University, Pennsilvania, Manhattan College, New York and College of Idaho, USA. These students come as retreat groups with Rostro De Cristo and again are a very welcome presence here giving people hope that people here exist and are important.

The following are some words for an up coming homily i am preparing:

SIETE HABITOS DE LA FE QUE NOS AYUDAN PARA LA CUARESMA:

1. Orar al comer.

2. Ayudar a su vecino.

3. Recibir la Segrada Comunion para la fuerza y nutricion.

4. Perdir a los Santos en el cielo y buscar su ayuda.

5. Dar Gracias a Dios cada noche.

5. Perdir la Bendicion de Dios cada manana.

7. Estar sola en el silencio y sentir la Paz.

We continue to help single mothers, elderly living alone and people with disabilities/special needs here in our Parish. Andres, now Co-Ordinates this project. At present we are looking after those in dire need as the water surrounds their homes. By buying one or two loads of shale/rock $25 per load we are able to raise the foundation above the water line. The appreciation and happiness with this project is a welcome gift and so needed.

Thank You all again for your support and generosity especially over the Christmas period. You all know who you are. We are putting all your monies into action very wisely and you are making a big difference here in the lives the poor.

There will be a Social with Country Fever in Old Ground Hotel, Ennis on Friday April 5th with dancing from 10 till One! Hope this will give you all an opportunity to meet, celebrate and again support our Diocesan Mission here in Ecuador. I wont be present but will with you in Spirit.

I conclude with a grateful heart for health, ministry, your generosity and support and the Society of Saint James that supports me here. You are continually in my thoughts and prayers and masses here in Monte Sinai.

Traveller your footprints are the only path, the only track:

wayfarer, there is no way,
there is no map or Northern Star,
just a blank page and a starless dark;
and should you turn round to admire
the distance that you’ve made today,
the road will billow into dust.
No way on and no way back,
there is no way, my comrade: trust your own quick step, the end’s delay,
the vanished trail of your own wake,
wayfarer, sea-walker, Christ. (Don Paterson)