We arrived in Guatemala City about 12:30 pm and Bishop Guerra was waiting to greet us all. As everyone prepared to head to their hotels, I learned that I would be staying at Bishop Guerra's house, along with Padre Forerro and Revda Carmen. Bishop Guerra took us to lunch at a place which was crazy with World Cup activity; the local radio station was there and wanted to interview us about the game, but we'd just arrived and we didn't know anything about the game, so we passed. After lunch we rested at the Bishop's residence. That evening we attended a dinner at Santiago de Apostól, the cathedral. I saw my former bishop and good friend, the Rt. Rev. Sylvestre Romero and we had a great time catching up. While we were talking a band consisting of two marimbas, a drum kit, a stand-up bass, and set of congas arrived and set-up. Each marimba had three guys playing it, so there were a lot of people on that small stage! A prayer was given and the fun began! Bishop Guerra and his wife started the dancing, and dinner and wine was served and it was a pleasant evening, even though the tables and chairs under the tents outside had to be moved into the hall, what with the constant rain and all.
The next morning we had and early breakfast with the Bishop and his family, and then headed over to the cathedral. We were there so early that I had lots of time to take photos of the building. Two indigenous musicians were sitting outside, and, after requesting permission, I took their photo. Wandering about, I found Canon Walter Smith, my co-director of the Panama Project and our participants: the Rev. David Carletta, Colin Maltbie, and Cary Cook. We caught up on thangs and then went to meet with the director of the Theological Education department for the Diocese of Guatemala, who gave us an informative presentation on the work being performed in that diocese. I also met-up with many folks from Panamá, including members of the ECW of San Cristóbal. Soon it was time to vest and gather with the clergy of IARCA and receive instructions for the procession.
Now, even though I kinda contributed by taking photos (although I never left my seat to do so), I gotta say that this was more of a photo opportunity than religious service at times. Dang paparazzi were EVERYWHERE! Also, contributing to the fun, was the person manning the little fireworks canon outside of the cathedral; it sounded as if we were under attack! And he fired that thang randomly throughout the service! After the service we (the clergy) gathered outside and waited for the Bishops and we all applauded our new Primado. Then we had tamales! I got to see Bishop Romero again, and also had time to converse with all my new friends from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. I was sorry that Leonardo Ricardo was unable to attend, but since we had to leave from the cathedral to the airport, I didn't have a chance to connect with him. I'm supposed to be in Guatemala in October, and I hope we can get together then! My entire time in Guatemala I was either at the Bishop's house or the cathedral!
So, after tamales we were off to the airport. We arrived back in Panamá around 8:30 pm (I wrote my sermon on the plane) and I was home to the loving arms of the Lovely Mona and the ecstatic jumping-about of Señorita Chompita Wiggletail.
Here are some photos
Bishop Guerra's dog "Blackie"
A fountain at the Bishop's residence
A beautiful setting, but too wet!
The stained glass and interior of Catedral Santiago de Apostól before the crowds arrived
Panama Project participants meet Guatemalan clergy
Ms. Albertina (Patsy) Pusey, Star Thurifer of Parroquia San Cristóbal
The Installation Service
The back of Reverenda Carmen's stole (yeah, I was getting bored)
Listen to the band! And enjoy the sacerdotal divesting in the background
Padre Mickey, Bishop Romero, and Cary Cook, all from the Diocese of El Camino Real