Monday, July 12, 2010

Padre Mickey's Excellent Central American Adventure, Part 2

So, after our Church Pension Fund Funtime in El Salvador, we headed for Guatemala for the installation of the new Primado of IARCA, the Rt. Rev. Armando Guerra. The Panama Contingent, consisting of Bishop Julio Murray, Reverenda Carmen Saéz, Revdo. Milciades Forerro, Revdo. José Moreno, and yer Padre Mickey all boarded a Pullmantur bus in front of the Holiday Inn in San Salvador. It was one fancy bus, like riding in the First Class section of the plane. Leather seats, stereo headphones, music, movies, and they even served breakfast: scrambled eggs with ham, refritos, queso blanco, and a small roll (that was the only morning I didn't have pupusas in El Salvador). The bus left for the border around 7:30 am. I didn't watch the films (some silly Jacky Chan thang and some Twilight thang with sullen teen-age vampires and werewolves) but caught up on my This American Life and Bill Moyer's Journal podcasts. When we arrived at la frontera Border Agents entered the bus and checked our names on a list and our passports and then had us get of the bus to go through aduanas customs. Getting in line I saw and greeted Bishop Barahona and Bishop Monterosso. The process was very fast and we were back on the bus in no time.

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

La Frontera

Bishop Guerra's dog "Blackie"

A fountain at the Bishop's residence

The Dinner,
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)

The Party!

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


Leonardo Ricardo said...

Nice, thanks for sharing your adventure at Santiago...I think of you and the enthronement everytime I drive past it and now I have pictures! Padre, I look forward to your October visit...we must plan a little fiesta at my house (remember I have a nifty guest room too)...I'm still in the States for a bit longer and having a great time. Love to you and the Lovely Mona (and all that wiggles around you)

Paul said...

Thanks for the reportaje, Padre. It helps us all feel connected.

Doorman-Priest said...

One day I'm coming to one of those parties.

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