By Doris Regan, OP (Peace)
The weekend of May 20-22 in San Pedro Sula occasioned the first-ever gathering
of all Dominican friars, sisters and laity in Honduras. The Justice and Peace Commission of the San Pedro Sula Dominican Family called together representation from the friars (including the Provincial Alexis Paez and the four Dominican friar vocations from Honduras), the five Dominican women’s congregations working in Honduras (Sisters of San Sixto, Cenaculos, Presentation, Peace and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Grand Rapids, Michigan) and some 29 laity who collaborate in the pastorals of the Dominican Family. The event was planned as a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Dominicans to America.
The first night was an informal “get-together”—sharing what it was that had motivated us to be Dominicans. Saturday began with a talk remembering the first friars of America and their legacy for those who followed. We challenged ourselves as to why the historic mission memory of the Order is so fundamental for the present context of our preaching. We heard presentations on the economic, political and social reality of Honduras reflecting personal experiences, especially of the coup of 2009 and its lingering effects. The afternoon dealt with the response of the Order of Preachers to the present reality of Honduras. “What to do?” “What commitment can we make?” Motives for hope became the task for the late afternoon.
As always, when there is a gathering of this sort, there was a Cultural Night of dance, song and theater provided by local artists who dramatized distinct moments of the coup of 2009. We ended our gathering on Sunday morning with a Eucharist presided by Fr Alexis Paez, OP, provincial of the Central American Province. Fr Alexis both affirmed and challenged us to continue our efforts for Justice and Peace as members of the Dominican Family. And he added, “This gathering is really historic!”
Throughout the preparation for this gathering, we asked ourselves, “What is it that we can do together that we cannot do if we are not together?” The gathering was the first time all the Dominicans of Honduras were in one place at the same time. Hopefully, it will not be the last.