Sunday, December 18, 2005

Santa María Vírgen

Inside the sanctuary.
Statue of Mary inside the church.
Members of the musical ensemble at Santa Maria Virgen

Today I had the priviledge of officiating at the Anglican church in El Salvador dedicated to St. Mary, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, with the beautiful Gospel reading from St. Luke on the Annunciation. There were only 50 congregants today--usually Santa María Vírgen has a hundred or more crowded into one of our smallest sanctuaries, actually a house with its interior walls knocked out-- but perhaps the smaller service contributed to the sense of peace and holiness in the celebration. I took the service today for Padre German López, a dynamic veteran priest who is in charge not only of Santa María, one of our fastest-growing churches, but also of three missions in Usulutan along the Lempa River. Padre German and a number of congregants went to Usulutan today (along with my sister Robin and David Starr+) to help in a major celebration of one of these communities-- the anniversary of its founding after the war. But at Santa María we sang (Vince mentions their incredible music ministrybelow--we had a five-piece musical ensemble today, despite the fact that the leaders had gone to Usulutan-- Vince's said after, "This is the second string??"), and prayed, heard scripture (with a dog stretching on the floor during the readings) and meditated on it, and received the Body and Blood of Christ. Santa María is one of the oldest Anglican-Episcopal congregations in the country, and the bishop is looking for someone to help finance the construction of a new church building for them-- a national sancturary dedicated to the Virgen María.
Tamales after the service
Santa María from the street

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