The January 1995 delgation to Limay consisted of HowdyBurns from St. Vincents Parish, his wife and their two children. What follows is a transcript of a conversation with parishioners of San Juan Bautisa Catholic church in Limay from January 14th, 1995
ATTENDING: Tranquillino Garmendia, Transito Calderon, Francisco Calderon, Leonidas Silvas, Gabino Espinoza, Antonio, Sr. Loretta Kruegler and Harold Burns
First I review the history of the relationship between our parishes. I then continue: We have heard that your circumstances are quite desperate economically. St. Vincent’s has sent me and my family as a sign of our Christian love for you and to accompany you in your distress.
The relationship between St. Vincent’s and San Juan has never been as strong as the relationship between San Juan and St. John’s United Methodist. In the beginning as they remember there was great controversy within St.Vincent’s parish about our realtionship with Limay. But that has changed: this time there was widespread support at St. Vincent’s for our delegation. Just last Sunday there was a spontaneous outpouring of generosity that resulted in a gift to the SIR of 1/2 month’s support which I delivered yesterday as Leonidas can tell you.
For myself, I am more worried about the salvation of my country and its citizens and especially my children than I am for Nicaragua and the people of Limay. My wife and I have brought our children to Limay to teach them that most people in the world do not live like we do in the United States, that most people possess very little and yet they can and do live with dignity in sincere Christian commitment to one another like the people of Limay.
I am happy that you have come during this one of our most difficult times. When you came here before, you yourself showed with positive affection that you stood against your own government. You stood then in solidarity with us to open this relationship from person to person, looking for an affirmative response to the Gospel.
As part of your witness, some of your companions here were imprisoned in the United States. This has united many families here. Out trip to Baltimore has helped our faith to grow. Our faith in God has become incarnated in the relationship between our parishes.
This relationship is evidenced again by the sacrifice of your family. We share your hope of our families coming together in faith and service to God. We are grateful for your presence. Your visit gives us hope of our being united in faith in the crisis we are living.
For my part I am grateful for the help that you have given us and I believe that you will continue helping us. We have a SIR [the day care center] and a Comedor for the infants and there are other needs of the Church.
You have understood the word of God. For we are all Christians, sons and daughters of one God, the father. If all of us could recognize this truth, we would live as children of God.
We hope that you will always continue your generous cooperation with us and we are in agreement with your possibilities. Tranquillino spoke for us all.
For my part, I am so grateful because there are always brothers in distant lands that remember this poor land that lives tormented by the economic system. We see that our Lord is uniting us to live in solidarity. May God grant that we always be united and keep us communicating with one another.
Our country though poor does not forget the word of God. Our basic necessities don’t allow us to forget,
We send greetings to all in your country. May we always live united.
I also am grateful to all our brothers and sisters for the love and solidarity that you have had for us in San Juan de Limay. May God always promote your love for San Juan de Limay.
As parents of families, we must always live in harmony, building in each other the wisdom the Lord has shown all of us as Christians.
May we always live in harmony with you as brothers and sisters. I send a greeting to all our brothers and sisters and hope that God may always be with us and that God will permit you to always be with us.
I ask: “HOW IS YOUR CHURCH?”
The ceiling is very bad. Every other window is sealed against the wind. No one knows when something may fall. And the floor tiles at the front door are in poor shape.
The roof is leaking. The bell tower steps are in bad condition. The bell tower is important because we call the community to worship with the bell.
HOW COULD THE ROOF BE REPAIRED?
Some skylights and sheets of zinc would need to be replaced. A small cyclone had ripped a few sheets off the roof a few years ago. WE repaired it but it has never been the same. And there are pigeons roosting up there. A thief stole their loud speaker system a few months ago, but they got that replaced.
The roof beams are made of cedar and are strong. So they only need to replace the zinc sheets to stop the leaking. They do not know what it would cost, but they do not think that it would be very much. They will try to work up an estimate.
These photos were taken by Howdy Burns from the delegation of 1995. The descriptions of the pictures are his.