Remembering Padre Guadalupe

On Saturday September 13, 2014 there will be a large community celebration in the Aguan Valley in North Eastern Honduras, in a village called “Guadalupe Carney”, named after an American Jesuit priest. It is a poor village of campesinos (rural farmers eeking out a meager existence). James Carney, from St. Louis, Mo., was a Jesuit priest who took the name Guadalupe (sometimes shortened to “Lupe”). Padre Guadalupe was incensed at the control and domination over the rural poor by American Fruit companies. He so closely identifed with the poor of Honduras, he renounced his American citizenship and officially became a Honduran citizen. That didn’t protect him as he was eventually expelled from the country at the insistence of the rich landed oligarchy. He returned clandestinely to Honduras as chaplain to a small group of Honduran resistance fighters. His group was captured by Honduran and American troops, even though by law the Americans were supposed to be in Honduras in an advisory capacity only. A former military death squad member, when he learned that his name was on a death list, fled Honduras and ended up as a “refugee” in Canada. He provided testimony in Toronto that Padre Guadalupe was tortured and then taken over the jungle region and thrown alive from a helicopter. The Honduran military eventually returned to the Carney family his personal effects – his bible and a small chalice, which proved that he had been captured. The American government has refused to declassify documents that would shed light on the fate of Padre Guadalupe and the involvement of John Negroponte, still the shadowy “Rasputin” in the American State Department. This testimony was written by Padre Ismael (Melo) Moreno s.j. and was published in Spanish in the Honduran monthly news journal “aMecate Corto” for September 2014.

I wear GILDAN “religiously”!

Crucified Women of GILDAN sweatshops

Crucified Women of GILDAN sweatshops

By Phil Little

I taught religious education in the Toronto Separate system for 26 years.  Often I noticed students wearing very fancy, artistic and expensive religious items.  Toronto is a multi-cultural city and our students came from countries with strong religious traditions. The majority were Italian, Portugese, Filipino, and Latino. The girls had ear rings and necklaces with religious icons of Mary: Fatima or Lourdes, or some other favorite saint. Even the boys wore religious symbols; the Latino boys would wear a rosary around their necks either for religious or gang identification. Of course the standard crucifix was common and usually in shiny gold.

NOT A CRUISE!

As a member of the Retired Teacher´s of Ontario, I was surprised to learn that there are so many of us on Vancouver Island that we constitute a separate unit of R.T.O. I became involved as the mid-island Political Advocacy representative.  I wrote this short article which was published in the spring edition of our local newsletter. It would seem that when retired teachers gather much of the discussion is about the latest cruise or vacation to a distant tourist mecca, so this was my attempt to join the discussion.

Sharing tortillas at the prison in solidarity with Chabelo

The United Church community of Chemainus is without a pastor for a few months, as their minister has accepted a new position elsewhere. I was invited to give the sermon at the Sunday service conducted by lay members of the congregation. They wanted me to speak of my trip to Honduras. The gospel reading for the day was the story of the two disciples walking to the village of Emmaus, despondent at all that had occurred in Jerusalem and the death of their prophet Jesus.  This was my attempt to connect the reading with an incident of my trip, using these photos as illustrations in a powerpoint presentation.

Why does the church want to ban eulogies?

Why does the church want to ban eulogies?

ARCHBISHOP PRENDERGAST TO LEAD VISITATION OF ARCHDIOCESE OF TUAM, IRELANDArchbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has recently decreed a ban on eulogies during funeral rites conducted inside the church.  Trying to explain this edict, the archbishop is reported to have said that the purpose of the funeral is “not to praise the deceased, but to pray for them.”

The Otuzco Nuns

Imagine a spiritually nourished parish without a priest but rather two nuns! Such a reality exists in the village of Ventanillas de Otuzco near the city of Cajamarca in Peru where two members of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception from New Brunswick now live and work.

Rita Coumont and Muriel Buckley

Rita Coumont and Muriel Buckley

The village is known for its necropolis of carved niches in the mountain side which predate the arrival of the Spaniards by hundreds of years or more.

The Ventanillas or "Windows" -  ancient tombs in Otuzco

The Ventanillas or “Windows” – ancient tombs in Otuzco

Eulalia and the Children

My daughter Naomi phoned me in May and said “Daddy, take me to Peru!”  I had been a part of the Oblate missions during the 1970’s, an experience that profoundly marked my persona. We agreed to a 5 week travel agenda, including some typical “tourist” spots and some visiting of friends with whom I still had contact.  I mentioned to Fr. Nicanor Sarmiento OMI that I would be traveling to Peru and he insisted that I visit his hometown of Lares, a 4