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2007 CODALC Meeting, Lima

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Ecuador Mission Notes:
Chris Eggleton, OP (St. Martin)

June, 2007

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Catherine of Siena and Martin de Porres,
GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR - Breezes coming in off the River Guayas every evening refresh body and spirit as the heat and humidity of the day wane.  Our collaboration with our Dominican family enlightens and rouses our preaching and I realize the tremendous importance of hospitality among us as a sign and mutual encouragement in the living out of our common mission.
Our parish is monetarily poor.  A typical monthly salary for a 45-50-hour work week is $165.00.  United States currency is used here in Ecuador.  Most of our parishioners do not have the resources to consider affording university tuition; most do well just to get their children through elementary, and maybe high school.  In the midst of all of this is the presence of people on the streets of our neighborhood barrio begging for their daily sustenance.  I consider Jesus' words from Luke's Gospel (16.20) withing the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus:  "And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores."  There are many real flesh and blood Lazarus' here!  I continue to be challenged to live always more simply, letting go of whatever can book me on a one-way ticket on the grandiose consumer train bound for a town with no name, like the rich man.
Our parish is faith rich.  Saint Vincent Ferrer, a Dominican from the late 13th and early 14th centuries, is adored here. Every Monday we celebrate six Masses in honor of St. Vincent (San Vicente).  Even though our parish is named Santo Domingo de Guzman (St. Dominic Guzman) everyone knows it as San Vicente.  Try getting a ride in a taxi to "Santo Domingo" and you'll receive a puzzled look; ask for "San Vicente" and you're off and riding!  On Monday's there are many blessings with water and with a relic of the saint placed on each forehead immediately following each Mass.  Throngs come for these blessings.
This past April 22nd we had our annual St. Vincent Day procession and outdoor Eucharist.  Processing through the streets of Guayaquil for almost three hours we had on hand an estimated 3500 faithful devotees praying, singing, and otherwise celebrating the feast.  The outdoor Mass featured aquite the crowd with 2000 present.  Some of the street vendors from near and far filled the air with the fragrance of semi-burnt popcorn from mini-stands scattered here and there throughout the street congregation.  The word for popcorn here in Ecuador is "canguil."  In the studium in our liturgical sacramental theology studies, the situation concerning Ecuadoran popcorn vendors never surfaced.  So when, during the Eucharistic Prayer, a popcorn vendor shouts out "Muy sabroso, muy sabroso!" ("Very tasty, very tasty!") I figured to myself that Jesus would agree that His Body and Blood is very tasty indeed, for body and for soul.  After the Eucharist I bought a bag!
May this time of Pentecost, late Spring, and beginning of Summer be a most blessed one for you all and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers... I beg yours!
Peace, Joy, and Love in the Fire of the Holy Spirit,
Chris Eggleton, OP


Men and Women Working Together

St. Vincent Ferrer Parish

Chris Eggleton
Chris Eggleton, OP, a member of St. Martin Province, has recently been missioned to Guayaquil, Edcuador, here are his occasional notes on his experience.




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