– October 2014
After the loss of its dynamic and visionary leader- Fr. Andres Giron- the Guatemalan clergy and faithful entered into a difficult period of mourning and readjustment. In every parish that we visited, there was sadness, but no loss of hope. On the contrary, a strong desire to continue the work of Fr. Andres was very much in evidence. A number of important initiatives gave added momentum to the ongoing mission of the church.One project of special note has been the plan to build, equip and staff a much needed medical clinic in the village of Aguacate, near the border with Mexico. The materials having arrived, construction began in mid August with the help of the One World, One Community Foundation.
As reported earlier, Fr. John led an OCMC team of church musicians, who traveled to a number of Mayan villages, teaching the music of the Divine Liturgy and major feasts of the church in Spanish. Team members continue to send additional hymns in support of this ongoing project. A recent two-day catechetical seminar at the Centro Apostolico highlighted the first ever release of an Orthodox Church Calendar in Spanish, featuring key parts of the Divine Liturgy, daily Scriptures readings, lives of the saints and their apolitikia and kondakia. Fr. John introduced the newly published text that each catechist will take back to his or her village. Since early July, Presbytera Alexandra resumed filling orders for liturgical vestments and adornments with her Mayan seamstresses, using Guatemalan made ecclesiastical fabrics. Having recently launched her web site- www.mayanartisanstudios.com – she is able to take orders online. Besides providing a livelihood for the underprivileged woman of the village, the program generates much needed income for the church. Fr. John continues to accompany the local clergy in their weekly parish visitations, performing sacraments and offering encouragement and support to the long suffering faithful, who happily realize that they now belong to a canonical church that is firmly rooted in ancient Christianity. Further updates on these and other projects are soon to follow.