Mission awareness trip
Guatemala, May 16-23, 2009
Colombia, May 24-June 1, 2009
While the sponsors were enjoying a beautiful day in San Lucas Toliman with their sponsored children and aging, on May 18, 2009, an American Oblate priest was killed, and an African Oblate wounded during a highway robbery near Playa Grande, Ixcan, Guatemala. Apparently the assailants wanted the van carrying the missionaries to a regional meeting of their order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). Bullets flew, leaving Father Lorenzo Rosebaugh, 74, dead, and Congolese Father Jean Claude wounded. In the confusion, assailants fled without the vehicle. Father Lorenzo had a long history of taking risks to aid the poor and marginalized. All of us here are deeply saddened by this tragedy.
Spontaneity and laughter
In spite of several alarming events, the sponsors on this trip to Guatemala encountered spontaneity and a great sense of humor among the people they met. The sponsors see and appreciate the need for the presence of CFCA in Guatemala, especially when they learn of the crude reality of a divided society.
On the final morning in San Lucas, Father John Goggin kindly celebrated the Eucharist. We remembered Father Lorenzo in a special way. In his homily, Father John stated, “The world can change, when people learn to walk with the poor.”
We had one sponsored girl and one sponsored aging person who traveled overnight (Cali-Medellin) with staff member Diana to see their sponsors in Medellin. The mother of the sponsored girl, Karen, speaks with such gratitude for the program. Karenís father was shot and killed when she was 5. Magnolia, the mother, states that thieves took his life over a motor scooter and a pair of tennis shoes.
City of the flowers
Medellin still impresses me as a very beautiful and cultural city. Coordinator Transito Hernandez informed us that there are 23 universities here. We have also been learning that Medellin now has more than 3 million people and faces serious human challenges. Only 46 percent of school-aged children are enrolled in school. After 18, the number drops to 30 percent. Those not in school are vulnerable to the many dangers of the streets. At CFCA, we are blessed with a fine central coordinating team – Transito, Martha, Monica, Luz Angela, Erika.