Monday, April 25, 2011

Feliz Dia de la Resurrección!

(Happy Day of the Resurrection!) This greeting, in lieu of Happy Easter, is accompanied by a big hug from old friends and just met ones alike!  And what a feliz dia it was!  On Saturday, Lety and I went off in search of flowers to decorate the Chapel.  No flowers to be found anywhere.  Honduras pretty much shuts down during Holy Week and by Saturday you are hard pressed to find anything open.  Fortunately, there was a nursery open so we stopped to get flowering plants.  Lety and Jorge, who was staying with Suzy for the week, repotted the flowers.  They were beautiful!  The pots were painted different colors and looked like Easter eggs!  We used a white chasuble for the altar cloth.  We sure could use vestments for every season...

Elvia, the priest, came to celebrate.  By about 10:15 the Chapel was filled with children and several visitors including, David and Evelyn, Arely, Elvia's father, Karla and her baby, Wilson, and some folks from Cristo Redentor!

With Raul and Cindy as acolytes, the service began. We sang (I listened) several lively songs led by Mari's great choir.  After opening prayers, Elvia started the Baptism service.  All the candidates, Jonibel, Kevin, Norma, Raul, Rony, Emanuel, Tony, came up front and stated why they wanted to be baptized.  The Godparents (Padrinos) were asked to come up.  David, Evelyn, Arely, and I joined the children.  We all affirmed the baptismal covenants and then we were ready to process to the river for the actual baptism!

It is a long way to the river, particularly if you are carrying a cross (like Raul) or playing a guitar and singing (like Suzy!)  We processed down to the entrance gate, along the road, then behind the houses to a trail very popular with cows... (Question:  Were the very fresh cow pies a metaphor for the obstacles we face on our Christian journey?)  Finally, we arrived at the river, a bit out of breath, a bit damp from the heat and humidity, but very excited.  Everyone found a good spot to watch the proceedings - some up in a tree, some on a bigger person's shoulders, several across the river on the rocks, some of us precariously perched on a tipply rock in the river to take pictures!  Elvia took off her shoes, hoisted up her vestments and stepped into the river.  One by one the children bravely approached.  A couple of the children balked at the "full" in full immersion.   Elvia, very experienced at this, didn't hesitate and under they went - just for the tiniest moment!  The newly baptized was handed over to someone ready with a towel and the next candidate stepped in.  Jonibel was true to form.  Although he took Baptism seriously, he just couldn't resist that one opportunity to get a laugh!  Raul was the last but the best prepared and took off his shirt before going under.   After Raul's baptism we suddenly realized we had to process back to the Chapel...up hill!  Truthfully, it was more of a straggle.

Back in the Chapel, Elvia anointed the baptized children, Suzy gave them each a white candle. She lit the first and then they lit each other's in turn.  Aplauso!  Welcome the newest members of the Body of Christ!  (During the passing of the peace, I scurried around blowing out the candles before we had an early Pentecost with the flames!)  The service resumed with Mass.  It was so sweet seeing the newly baptized take their first communion.   There is a lovely tradition here.  The altar party processes out during the final song and while the congregation is singing, they gather together for final prayers.  I love that.

Once church was over the children rushed to the Chapel porch for a grand fiesta!


Elvia's father

Most of the children had on red (preview for Pentecost!)
Raul, a baptism candidate, was the cross bearer


Cindy was an acolyte

The Baptism candidates explained why they wanted to be baptized

The procession began

Down the road

Along the trail to the river
To the rocky riverside

Everyone wanted a good view!

The service resumed
Into the river...

Rony was very nervous!

...and done!

Emanuel next


Yep, Jonibel!

Back to the Chapel for the rest of the service
Anointing with oil

Welcome the newest Christians!

First Communion!

Final prayers


Alleluia!  Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed!  Alleluia!