Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Padre Mickey's Excellent Central American Adventure, Part 1

It's taken a while, but I've finally been able to sit down and sort through the photos from my trips to El Salvador and Guatemala. We'll start with El Salvador.

The Church Pension Fund held a seminar for the clergy of IARCA (The Anglican Church in the Region of Central America) on June 9, 2010. We stayed at the fancy Hotel Real Intercontinental en el Boulevard de los Héroes en San Salvador. It was VERY NICE! Most of the group from Panama arrived early on Tuesday, the 8th, but I was working with the Panama Project and traveled Tuesday evening with Bishop Murray and Revdo. Canonigo Luis Cáceres. We arrived around 9:30 pm and worked our way through aduanas (customs). I got hit with the Gringo Tax; I had to pay $10.00 for a tourist card while my companions entered sin tarifas.
We got to the hotel around 10:30 or so. After a lovely night's rest, I met Reverenda Glenda McQueen in the lobby and we went to breakfast, where I learned about pupusas, which are very good!

The seminar was nice and I got to meet a lot of people and that was cool.

Panamanian group, minus Padres Moreno y Dresbach (no room for us in that spot!)

Bishop Guerra

Bishop Monterosso

Bishop Barahona

We had a free evening, and the Panama Contingent went out to find some Comida Típica Salvadoreña, which, outside of pupusas, isn't that interesting IMHO. I had a meal called Plata Jalapeña. I think Jalapeña must be a town, as it was totally picante-free, although we also had pupusas! There was some crazy karaoke happening in that restaurant.

The next day we visited several churches in El Salvador. After breakfast (pupusas again for me!) we boarded two buses and visited Iglesia San Andrés Apostol in Soyapango, San Salvador. It is a nice church with a school. The kids were happy to have their classes interrupted by a buncha clergy!

Church dog

Los Panameños

Padre Jesús Alvarenga y members of the vestry

Murals in the play yard

Some interesting stuff on the walls

Another Mural

From San Andrés we went to Hospitál La Divina Providencia, to visit the chapel which is the site of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero. A young sister of the Carmelite order told us the story of Archbishop Romero's life in a very moving manner. We also heard a recording of his martyrdom. It was a very holy moment for me and my companions.

A young sister of the Carmelite Order tells the story of Bishop Romero's life

Always a gift shop!

Then we got back on the bus for a a ride to Lourdes, Colón, in La Libertad, where we attended a Mass at Iglesia San Mateo. Just like San Andrés, San Mateo also has a school. Bishop Guerra preached and presided and the students were the lectors.

Bishop Guerra preaches as Padre David Alvarado looks on

From Lourdes, Colón, we had a long bus ride to Sonsonate, where we had lunch at el restaurante Ágape, which, from what I could gather, is a hotel/water park/restaurante run by either an Roman Catholic community or a former RC priest; I'm not too sure. Back on to the bus and we went to la Comunidad El Maizal, en Sonsonate. This is quite a place, where people are living together and learning sustainable agriculture and have a bakery and a school and, well, like I said, it is quite a place. Lotsa dogs and lotsa poultry walking around. I saw a turkey chase a puppy and all the dogs started barking and chasing the bird!

Celtic Cross


Un pollo

Nice pool!

Giant mangos!

The neighborhood

After our visit to El Maizal we had a loooong bus ride back to San Salvador. We showered and then were back on the buses to dinner, held at some fakey Mexican Cantina, but we had a great time. Crazy karaoke happening there, too, and Bishop Murray sang "No Woman, No Cry" and brought the house down! Back to the hotel, and we had to get up REALLY EARLY for our bus ride to Guatemala. The Panama Contingent rode together on the fancy-pants Pullmantur bus. Four hour trip, but First Class all the way! I'll talk about that in the next post.

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