By Matthew D. Ruhl, S.J.
Wednesday/October 24, 2018/Punta Gorda
It is called a Cursillo. It is the convening of the 34 Catholic Church leaders, Catechists, from the 34 Maya village churches administrated by St. Peter Claver for a three-day retreat. Fr. Sam Wilson organized the event hosted by St. Benedict's here in Punta Gorda. It succeeded as a first step toward putting order to the administrative chaos and divisions within the villages. Men and women arrived with their hammocks and notebooks. Sessions dealt with leadership styles, issues with Evangelicals, gripe sessions. The most important outcome was the desire of the Catechists to put an end to division and bickering and move forward, united in their Catholic Faith.
To celebrate that unity, St. Peter Claver will host a great gathering on Sunday, December 2nd, on the occasion of my being officially installed as the Pastor of St. Peter Claver. Buses will be contracted to bring the Faithful out of the mountains to Punta Gorda. Events will begin with Mass and Installation, presided over by Bishop Larry Nicasio, followed by the serving of great portions of food and drink as we feast seaside in the yard of the church. Choirs from the various churches will be invited to perform for the crowd. All in all a crowd of about 1,000 should be in attendance.
It is sometimes difficult in Punta Gorda to go out and get what you need when you need it. Sometimes supply and selection are limited. Sometimes cost is prohibitive. And so we find ourselves uniquely short of some of life's staples. Currently we have no phones due to lightning strike and cordless phones are not available here. No TV due to the same lightning strike. Our stove is on the fritz: two burners work out of four, no oven. Our washing machine is falling apart. And last night, Fr. Sam ate a cold supper: microwave had gone out. So, Fr. Penn will travel to Belize City tomorrow and visit a friend of mine who works at COURTS, a department store. He will return with a new stove, new phones, new washing machine, new microwave. Interestingly, nobody was hoping for a new TV. Our evenings are spent on the verandah talking, with Fr. Sam frequently strumming some Delta Blues on his guitars. We retire to our rooms to read around 7 p.m. Lights out by 9 p.m. Everybody is up and at 'em by 4 a.m. Nobody misses the TV at all.