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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pilgrims' Progress

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL PRILGRIMAGE to Central America ended last week with 20 participants (2 deacons and 18 priests, including three canon lawyers) according to Rev. Mr. Steve DeMartino, vocations ministry coordinator, who organized the tour.

As the group made their way around the various spots in Guatemala and El Salvador made holy by the blood of many martyrs, including Bishop Oscar Romero, the four churchwomen and the Jesuits, not to mention hundreds of thousands of ordinary people, the group was particularly moved by the eye-witness accounts of survivors, DeMartino said.

Last of all they heard the stories of Maryknollers who lived there during those dark days: Br. Marty Shea, Fr. Bill Donnelly, Fr. Bill Mullan and Fr. Dave LaBuda. Maryknoll Fathers John Spain and Tom Goekler also hosted the group at their apostolates.

DeMartino proudly points to these pilgrimages as an excellent opportunity for Maryknoll to foster closer relationships with clergy of the Church in the U.S. as well as expose them to the Maryknoll mission reality.

Three of this year's participants expressed a desire to entire into deeper discussion and discernment in possibly joining our Associate Program.

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On an unrelated yet too humorous to ignore note, after the pilgrimage, Deacon Steve and Father Dave LaBuda were parambulating in the Petén (no mean fete in itself), when Steve heard the distinct noise of cracking branches and rustling leaves in the jungle canopy to either side of the path. They were being stalked by howler monkeys, to which Dave replied, "Whatever.

Finally Steve could take it no more and turned to address their still hidden adversaries, "Show your faces already!" (although truth be told, I don't know if he spoke in English, Spanish, Maya or Huachuatl). After two fruitless attempts to flush the monkeys out of hiding, one howler appeared and proceeded to live up to his name.

"Is that the best you got?" Steve howled back, at which point the howler proceeded to rain down his answer. Flushed out indeed.

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