Sunday, April 6, 2014

El Salvador - At Night the Light is Red

El Salvador Bell Tower
(Our Mission Team of 2014 at the Adoration Bell Tower Project started by Mission Team of 2013)

We arrived in El Salvador today safe and sound.

I'll repeat again if you've ever heard me say it, the Ukulele is absolutely the best investment I've ever made.  On the first leg of the journey the gate attendant asked me if I could play her a song.  I figured I'd give her a verse... she liked it so much she invited me behind the counter and put me on over the loud speaker.  It was fun to watch all the faces in the wing go from slightly irritated what is that noise to "is this really happening."  Before you know it they were singing along "I see friends shaking hands saying 'how do you do?' They're really saying... I... Love.... You..."  It didn't get me bumped up to first class but wouldn't you know it on the way from Houston to El Salvador they were overbooked and this time they bumped me up to first class because they were overbooked.  Now I have to be honest the Roman Collar hasn't gotten me out of speeding tickets before, but this time it did get me bumped up to first class!  I have to tell you the ironic thing is I've only ever been bumped up to first class flying in and out of El Salvador.  It is just a reminder of how much God abundantly blesses me with and how much I get to share.  I actually wanted to let somebody else have my seat, and I did give it a slight try, but the Stewardess was getting a little annoyed with me so I finally sat down and tried to enjoy it.  I mean really that's the way to travel: the stewardesses are actually nice to you, there's leg room to spare, a big cushy seat, the movies are free, they bring you food, drinks, and oh... the hot towel.  

Now on to the real luxury.  The experience to be back here in El Salvador with my brother priests, a whole new group of parishioners, and some of the friendliest faces I know.  Remember the little boy from last year Juan Jose?  He was the one who wants to be a priest and serenaded with my red ukulele.  He still has those same eyes, gentle demeanor, and gave me a big hug.  We will make sure to record another session for you.   

(Picture from last years mission trip with Juan Jose)

You'll notice in the picture at the top, the group has reunited with Fr. Johnny "O" Ostroski.  We got to see the finished product of the "Bell Tower" project that we worked on last year.  The old bell tower of the Church has been converted into a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel.  Fr. Johnny told us with great joy and satisfaction "It is a wonderful place for people to pray and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and people are really finding that to enrich their Spiritual Lives.  It's a quite place.... and there really is not too many quite places around here.  People feel like they are getting away and the walls are so thick that it is like they are.  It really is the perfect Chapel for here."  

Walking back to the rectory at night after the day was done I noticed that the Chapel was glowing from the inside tabernacle light.  It poured out this blood red color from all of the windows and Fr. Johnny O said: "It really symbolizes the blood of Christ poured out for us on the community of Teotepeque."  Truly a powerful sight and am so glad that in such a noisy culture there is a place of silence, refuge, and solitude with the Body of Christ.

This year we will literally get to build up the Church as we help to put on a new roof, new windows, and of course paint the Chapel for the Community of San Francisco.  (See the picture below).  I love driving around late at night on the dirt roads in the back of a pick up truck.

Good night my friends, May the Blood of Christ pour out not only over the people of El Salvador but all across the word and especially upon you who read this.

Fr. Michael

san francis
(Our Project his Year - Iglesia San Francisco) 

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