When I got back from retreat, I found a friendly email waiting in my inbox as well as a small cache of WordPress posts in the draft files. Tomorrow I’ll begin to seed these Aparecida offerings into the mix and we can benefit from our brother John Donaghy’s insights on that landmark document document of the Latin American bishops. John has been quite busy. I’m grateful he’s found time to write again for us.
I direct your attention to his blog, Hermano Juancito. There you will find some rich and thoughtful witness on the life of an American missionary in Honduras. I admire his courage to serve–now close to seven years. I admit a certain pull to the Ignatian encouragement from Pope Francis, to serve at the farthest boundaries. The combination of encouragement and mission service is a blessed one.
In many ways, John is the perfect guide for us. As I began to read Aparecida myself, I saw some strains of Pope Francis in that. For those of us concerned with the politics of the Church (and by that I mean the interplay of our natural human personalities, individuals and groups–not political parties and platforms as the media feeds us) I think the discerning reader will find some understanding of the pope. Even people who are concerned or alarmed about him.
Just because our brothers and sisters speak Spanish and Portugese, they are no less family. We are all Americans in the sense we live on two great and blessed continents. I always wondered why people north of the Rio Grande seemed to do so well materially. We all live in lands blessed by wonderful resources. Why should lush and green Honduras be more impoverished than, say, the desert state of Nevada?
And Latin American lands were colonized by Catholic countries, so they say. It seems that those deep roots of faith can inform us in some way. Together, we can be a strong influence in our respective cultures. And find ways to overcome the obstacles of poverty, corruption, apathy, materialism, and triumph over the remnants of colonialism and slavery.
Aparecida is a document that the North American bishops could write. But do not. Each bishop is his own branch manager north of Mexico. Or so it seems.
Hundreds of bishops gathering to reflect on faith and life is a powerful witness. And they have things to say to those of us who perhaps pride ourselves on a certain religious entitlement in lands that speak English and French.
Please feel free to visit John’s blog and I think he’s on Facebook and such, too.