February 28, 2014
Here you can read about the experiences of people who are either in Nicaragua at the moment or have been in Nicaragua and know the people, the place, the church in our sister parish community.
Mary Pat Potts is in Jinotega right now! She will be there until March 7, leading several parishioners in a pilgrimage. They will be e-mailing their progress, impressions, and such throughout their visit. Check back frequently to see what’s going on!
Wow! We do so much when we are here — I forgot to describe for you something from Thursday that made an impact on all of us.
We were lucky enough on our journey back down the mountain to be able to observe the coffee pickers — or cutters as they are called here — as they were bringing in their baskets of coffee berries they picked that day and having them measured in order to receive their pay. There were lots of people, little children up through elders, who had ” cut coffee” all day long and must’ve been so tired, but we watched the children play and laugh as any other children might — one was rolling a tire down the hill — and the adults seemed so calm and nice to us. One boy and his grandfather walked hours to get there to work and they start at about four in the morning! Another man and his family were there from the Atlantic coast — the other side of Nicaragua — to pick coffee for five months in various places as the coffee matured at different times. This well-oiled machine was fascinating to watch!
On Friday we had our main day of the retreat that we collaborated on for our travelers from St. Ed’s and about eight people from the chapels out in the mountain villages that are a part of Our Lady of the Angels.
Men and women came from Mancotal and Yankee, but none of the leaders of the church in town could come because they were all at another retreat. Bad timing I guess. But the people who were with us on this retreat were wonderful! They were so faith-filled, humble, and open to do whatever was asked of them. In the morning Padre Eliar gave a talk on Saintliness — the big Saints and the everyday saints — and how we are all called to saintliness. Our friend Renae did a fabulous job of translating everything for us, making everything understandable for everyone (Renae is originally from Seattle but served in the Peace Corp here and is now a Nicaraguan citizen and farmer). Then we we fortunate enough to have some discussion time with our Nicaraguan friends and Gringos mixed together. That was my favorite time.
Later I was able to share a talk and activity with everyone on Gratitude from a retreat I had done at St. Ed’s. It was different for the Nicaraguans because it included the activity of making a map of times of great gratitude in our lives. They enjoyed it! After we shared lunch, a nun from the U.S. who is working here gave an object lesson on how to be followers of Christ using a coin purse, an onion, a package of Jello, and a candle. It was fun! The last talk of the day was by our friend who is the leader of the pastoral ministers. Her theme was our call to Holiness.
It was absolutely fascinating that even though we never got together to plan this retreat, all the different pieces of the retreat just flowed together beautifully, as if we had planned it together. Such is the work of the wonderful Holy Spirit! It was enjoyed by all! We were supposed to end with Mass, but Padre Eliar, who is also Vicar General here, was called away by the Bishop. It was a very beautiful and spiritual day. We were very Impressed by the deep faith and humility of these Nicaraguans who serve their church in their communities.
Your friend in Nicaragua — MaryPat