Monday, December 11, 2006

Blessing and Inauguration of the New Anglican Village of La Divina Providencia

Esther Cohen from ERD and Bishop Barahona cut the symbolic tape inaugurating the Anglican Villa de La Divina Providencia
On a slightly cloudy, warm day out in the Department of Sonsonate, the Bishop Martín Barahona, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) representative Esther Cohen, Rev. Mario Nunez, priest-in-charge of the congregation La Divina Providencia, and other members of the diocese celebrated the official commencement new Anglican Village, La Divina Providencia. The houses were constructed as part of Episcopal Relief and Development's reconstruction work after the 2001 earthquakes. Many volunteers who came to El Salvador through ERD worked hot hours under the sun shoveling dirt, and future home-owners worked weekends to get the houses built. In November a lottery was held among those who had been selected to receive a house-- all families with children, with no substance abuse issues or criminal record, and who had never owned property. The lottery determined which house each family would get, and keys were handed over. The Eucharist and ceremony December 9 officially inaugurated the village, but signs of unofficial inauguration abounded: about five families had moved in, chickens, hammocks, and all (included the lucky family who got the corner house by the school site, and had taken advantage of their suerte to start the first store!) and many others had "inaugurated" their houses by putting in fences, planting gardens, and installing the ubiquitous window-rails. After so many months of visiting El Maizal (the Diocesan property where La Divina Providencia is located), watching the village take shape little by little, it was so exciting to finally see it come to life. The bishop walked through the entire village when the service was over, blessing each of the 30 houses, sprinkling it with holy water. Many future residents, including the owner of the future pupuseria of the village, hurried ahead with their keys to open the doors so he could bless the inside as well.

A Bishop who walks with his people

Bishop Barahona preached about the
kind of community residents should
build at La Divina Providencia

The gathered community

Youth from the community enlivened the celebration with dramatic dance

The house-blessing procession
The owner of the future pupuseria (left) is exuberant as her house is blessed.

1 comment:

Renee Case said...

Although it has been many months since we were blessed by our visit and work in El Maizal, a piece of our hearts is still there. I was thrilled to see your report and especially to see the photos of the official opening of the village and it's church. And there are some familiar faces! Please extend our heartfelt Buena suerte to Padre Mario from his friends from Zion Episcopal Church, Palmyra, New York, USA.