The Cathedral in Downtown Comayagua
is made up of seven expansive diocese, with the creation of additional dioceses reportedly under consideration. These dioceses struggle to meet immense pastoral needs with very limited resources. After half a millennium there are just over 100 native Honduran diocesan priests. They are aided by about twice as many missionary and religious order priests from other countries. Many priests receive no regular salary and must sustain themselves and meet the expenses of the parish with the meager offerings from their impoverished faithful. Parishes typically have 20-50 outlying villages for which they are responsible. Priests travel to these remote locations to celebrate the Sacraments only a few times each year. In between, hard-working lay leaders maintain these small Catholic communities.
Our Lady of Suyapa is the Patroness of Honduras. She’s a tiny 6 cm tall statue carved out of cedar, miraculously discovered by a campesino laborer as he slept out in the open in a dry river bed on the way back home from working in the fields. There were no words, no apparitions – only a tiny figure with a silent beauty and a humble dignity. Our Lady of Suyapa is representative of the Honduran people and is an indication of how deeply Catholic faith has penetrated the culture. There is a large basilica dedicated to her in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.
During the most recent papal conclave Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa received international attention as a potential candidate to succeed John Paul II. A native Honduran with amazing abilities he is without equal the moral and spiritual leader of the country. He is the first Honduran bishop to be named a cardinal, and he heads the country’s national anti-corruption task force.
Despite the fact that Honduras is traditionally a Catholic country, and that for many years Catholics represented more than 95% of the nations population, Honduras finds itself in the midst spiritual upheaval and the fragmentation of faith. On the one hand there is the aggressive and anti-Catholic proselytizing by Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians and sect such as the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. On the other hand is the growing threat of secularism, constantly pumped into the culture through the mass media. The result is a frightening erosion in the Catholic population that has dropped, according to some estimates, to as low as 60% of the population.
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
Convento San Serafin
Colonia Francisco Morazan