Vocero Franciscano

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
Honduras Mission

Summer 2008
Published biannually
 
A Seeing Culture
by Fr. John Anthony Boughton, CFR

 

So what is so great about Catholic Underground, or as we call it in Central America, Rítmo Católico?  If you have not gone to one, I highly recommend it (see our website for details).  This event was inspired by John Paul II’s call to transform the world through cultural evangelization.  In it we invite artists of various disciplines to perform.  But as preparation we offer an hour of Eucharistic adoration, with music to enter into the worship and non stop confessions.  Then we move the whole group of people to an informal venue to be entertained and have fellowship.  It has become quite popular wherever we have done this. 

I was recently reminded of the powerful effect of these events when we had several hundred people of various ages dancing and praising and having a great time at our latest Rítmo Católico, here in Honduras.  The featured artists were a wonderful band of 10 young people from Tegucigalpa called “Eccos Andinos.” They performed traditional indigenous music from Central and South America which touched a deep cultural tap root in the locals who participated, and drew admiration and joy from us foreigners.  But I don’t think one can account for the popularity of the event because there was just good music. There are other venues that offer technically good music.  So why do we monthly have standing room only at the Catholic Underground in New York and a buzz about Comayagua asking us when the next Rítmo Católico will be?  I would say it is a matter of inspiration and vision.   

The Greeks spoke of the muses that inspire “or breath into” an artist to help him create.  How true this is.  When looked at from a Christian perspective, we know that the only “muse” worth having is the ultimate muse, the Holy Spirit, whom God breathed over the waters to create the universe.  John Paul II constantly called artists to evangelize the culture through their art form.  Art inspired by the Holy Spirit allows the soul to see a facet of the truth, beauty, and goodness found in God, and it draws the soul inward and upward toward Him. Art that is not inspired by Him leaves one interiorly earth bound, or worse.  It may be fun for a bit but it leaves an almost immediate void. 

Some years ago I was able to see the contrast between such inspirations plainly at a wedding reception in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  It was your usual wedding reception, however with a live band instead of a DJ.  People were eating and trying to talk over the music, and at the same time politely watching the band.  A few people were dancing.  The musicians were quite talented, playing light rock tunes.  But something happened that opened my eyes.  You see, some “fiddlers” got up to play. These are folk from the area that play Irish and Scottish music made for the fiddle.  The spirit in the room shifted radically when they began to play. All of a sudden everyone, from little kids to the grandparents, was pushing the tables back to dance.  It seemed interiorly that heaviness and darkness had lifted and gone from the room.  The feel was light and whirring about and moving upward, and the “square dance” that followed moved with this music.  It was a powerful visual, and more than visual, impression on the difference between music that comes from a culture of life and light versus one that is not.

I am not speaking merely of the difference between two types of music, however.  For instance, I experienced the same palpable shift of spirit in a room when the musicians at a Blue Grass concert moved from the usual themes of being in jail, drunk, broke, or cheated on, and turned to Gospel Blue Grass.  Literally, the cat calls and rowdy behavior stopped instantly and people were singing along from the heart.  Two songs later the crowd moved back to the banal following the lyrics, and an earthbound spirit entered the room again. 

Culture and the inspiration of it is a matter of vision.  When the soul is led by the artist to see Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, then the whole of the person is moved in the very direction to which we are called, and from whence these qualities emanate, God.  The forget-ability of pop culture demonstrates its superficiality and where the inspiration for it comes from. The musician that is all the rage today, will be quickly forgotten tomorrow, or worse, distained and ridiculed tomorrow.  The devil always breaks the toys he plays with. 

Having a concert like Rítmo Católico, especially with a group like “Eccos Andinos,” resonates in the soul here in Honduras.  The culture here is inundated with the dregs of American culture, and with imitations of it in the music and in the materialism.  John Paul II often spoke of the need of every nation to seek out the roots of their culture to find the facets of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, which are uniquely exemplified in their people.  It is incredible to experience the energy driven by the Holy Spirit to uplift a crowd.  The contrast of a cultral event with such full interior vision, is even more powerful with this particular band.  These highly talented young musicians are each physically blind. They study and live at the Franciscan Institute for the Blind in Tegucigalpa. However, they see more clearly than most, the light and truth that will build a culture of life, like the blind man in the Gospel who saw Jesus more clearly than all the rest.  We look forward to having them back soon to enlighten us with their inspiration and talent.

Pray for more such visionaries to be raised up in these beautiful people of Honduras!

 

 

 

Evangelizing through culture is an indirect way to draw people to the truth, beauty, and love of God.  Here, Eder Ariel Pino and María del Carmen Toro of the group “Eccos Andinos” practice before performing at Rítmo Catolico.  They have also played along side such notables as Tony Melendez, another God inspired artist. Eccos Andinos
The entire group, “Eccos Andinos,” practice for the concert Rítmo Católico, performed at our Casa Guadalupe.  The group studies at the Instituto San Francisco for the blind and visually impaired in Tegucigalpa.  Here at the microphones left to right are: Hermes Excequiel, José Ramón García, César Donaldo Ortiz, Carlos David Espinal, Eder Ariel Pino, and María del Carmen Toro.
whole group


Nicaragua

A New but Familiar Face for a New Epoch

 

As you can see, we have changed the Dame La Mano masthead.  The brothers wanted a clearer statement of our Franciscan identity and also a visual connection with our community’s newsletter of the U. S. and Europe, “The Grey Friar News.”  At the same time, we needed a title that would work pretty well in both Spanish and English.  Thus, “Vocero Franciscano,” which means “Franciscan Crier.”

            What prompted such a change?  Well... nothing less than an exciting new epoch, long awaited by us down here.  Come late this year we will be opening a second friary in Central America, in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, one of the poorest diocese of that country.  Our hope is that by expanding we can stabilize our presence here, draw from a broader pool for vocations and within the not too distant future begin a formation program to raise up Central American Friars.  We have temporary quarters to move into, but will need to build a friary from scratch.  It will be a wonderful challenge.  With God’s grace and your support we can make it happen.

If you feel called to contribute to this new effort, please make your checks payable to the “The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal,” and put “Nicaragua Friary” in the memo line. 

*You may send your checks to the CFR office at:
427 E. 155th Street
, Bronx, NY 10455. 

Thank you, and please pray for us in this new endeavor.

 

 

Br Paul at soccer game Casa Milagro girls

This year the brothers started what will hopefully be an annual tradition, a Father and son trip to a professional soccer game in Tegucigalpa. Giving dads and their boys the time and means to recreate together is rare. Br. Paul Donnelly is with two of the boys from the Good Shepherd Catechesis program.  


Education is the fastest way to change a society. The young ladies of our Casa Milagro receive formal schooling and a stable Catholic family life to help them reach their full potential. Here the ladies pose for a photo with the Friars.

 

Back Row: Fr. John Anthony Boughton, Keylin, Kellin, Belkis, Candida. Front Row: Br. Matteo Dengler, Jessica, Delmy, Rocio, and Br. Antonio Diez de Medina. 

 

 

 

school supplies
Kids can’t study without books.  The supplies being given out by Andrew Pocta and Br. Matteo Dengler, came on our container, and also by purchasing goods here in Honduras.  Without you, these kids would not be able to go to school.

house warming

There are a few things in life that are absolutely basic for the human person to feel their dignity, one of which is a place to call home.  Here two families we work with regularly, rejoice at the completion of their new homes.  The buildings were funded by the St. Stephen’s Foundation out of Arkansas, and people like you who want to help put roofs over people’s heads.

 

 

container Fr Luke
The past several years, Kathy Weyant (second from right) has graciously organized the filling and shipping of our annual container from the US. Here she poses with Marie Dengler (far right), Br. Matteo’s mom and an invaluable help to us, who along with Pat and Mary Jane McCloskey and many other volunteers, help make this work possible. The container is a great labor of love and a much needed help to us as we serve the poor here in Honduras.  It is a practical way in which folks can directly assist the poor and the Friars with goods that are easily obtained in the US but not here. There is no way to properly thank all who help Kathy and Marie in this. Please know that you are in our prayers . 

Big hat, big beard, big sky, big guy.  It is always good to have Brothers visit. 

Fr. Luke Fletcher displays his new sombrero after giving us our annual retreat.

 

 

San Serafin friars Br Matteo with family

With a back drop of Honduran skyscrapers, these are the Friars at Convento San Serafín this year.

(Back Row) Fr. John Anthony Boughton, Br. Matteo Marie Dengler, Fr. Juan Diego Sutherland, Fr. Gregorio Wierzba, Br. Paul Raniero Donnelly. (Front Row) Br. Damiano Maria Vaissade,Br. Dismas Kline, Br. Antionio Maria Diez de Medina.

 

The US soldiers at the local military base continue to be a blessing to the people of Honduras.  On duty they serve in many rescue operations, medical emergencies, and practice disaster relief.  Off duty they often help us help the poor.  Here SSgt. David Kane stands with Br. Matteo Dengler after moving this   family to their new home.

 


studies Fr Gregorio
Without education no society advances.  Here two girls get tutoring from Yadira Cabrera, one of our staff social workers at Casa Guadalupe.  With your support we can help these kids have a better chance at life.
The blessings of lives transformed through our San Benito José Medical Clinic continue. Here Fr. Gregorio Weirzba speaks with a child who received a surgery.