"Hermanamiento" means "partnership."
Specifically, it means a partnership among two dioceses of Texas – San Angelo and Tyler – and two dioceses of Honduras – San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba.
Our partnership began as a response to the disaster of Hurricane Mitch, which devastated Honduras in October 1998. The Catholic bishops of Texas paired two Texas dioceses with each Honduras diocese and engaged in hurricane relief projects. San Angelo and Tyler were paired with San Pedro Sula.
In January 1999, Pope John Paul II published an apostolic exhortation called "THE CHURCH IN AMERICA - On the Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ: The Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America." He explained that we encounter the living Jesus Christ when we meet one another; this converts our hearts to love, which establishes communion with one another, and gives rise to working together in solidarity.
The decision was made to continue the relationships begun after Hurricane Mitch. Catholic Relief Services facilitated a three-meeting process to assist the dioceses to develop a durable relationship. Two meetings of diocesan representatives were held in Honduras and one in Texas during 2001. These resulted in a “Covenant of Partnership” signed by the bishops of San Angelo and San Pedro Sula on the memorable day of September 11, 2001, and by the bishop of Tyler a few days later.
Our “Covenant of Partnership” is a response to the invitation of Pope John Paul II “to promote communion among the particular Churches,” to “encourage the faithful to live this communion more and more, and to assume the responsibilities of developing bonds of communion with the local Churches in other areas of America through education, the exchange of information, fraternal ties between parishes and dioceses, and projects involving cooperation and joint intervention in questions of greater importance, especially those affecting the poor” (The Church in America, #37).
Diocesan Partnership Teams have visited one another annually since 2001, rotating locations and thereby getting to know one anothers' dioceses. The Diocese of San Angelo has had an annual special collection to share with the Diocese of San Pedro Sula. The bishops of the dioceses have visited one another, including on the 50th anniversaries of the establishment of the dioceses of San Angelo and San Pedro Sula.
Some parishes and other groups from the San Angelo diocese worked for about ten years with a program headed by Fr. Tom Goekler, MM, in Chamelecón, an extremely poor barrio of San Pedro Sula; we engaged in home construction, intervention in gangs and educational projects, and sharing in worship and activities of our Catholic faith. Later this developed into a parish-to-parish partnership between St. Ann’s of Midland and Santisima Trinidad of Chamelecón, with frequent visits for faith-sharing and consolidating the relationship.
University campus ministry groups of Angelo State University and the Catholic University of San Pedro Sula had some visits and retreats together. Some elementary schools of the Diocese of San Angelo and San Pedro Sula attempted partnerships. The Diocese of Tyler established partnerships among some parishes and between Bishop Gorman High School of Tyler and the Instituto Guadalupano of La Lima.
Another parish partnership that has flourished has been between St. Joseph/St. Anthony of Odessa and Exaltación de la Santa Cruz of Baracoa. They have learned a lot from one another about pastoral planning and developed lasting personal friendships.
Recently the Diocese of San Pedro Sula was divided and the coastal area has become the Diocese of La Ceiba. The partnership now includes four dioceses, although it comprises the same geographical area as before. The collection of the Diocese of San Angelo will now be shared with both Honduran dioceses.
The fifteenth anniversary of the Hermanamiento will be celebrated by representatives of all four dioceses at the annual gathering in 2016, to be held in the Diocese of San Angelo. All four diocesan bishops plan to attend. Plans call for the “Covenant of Partnership” to be updated, so that the relationship can continue to flourish. Public events for this celebration will be announced soon.
Parishes are encouraged to establish parish-to-parish relationships in the Hermanamiento. Parishes interested in developing their “missionary discipleship” (as Pope Francis would call it) with a Honduran parish can contact Rev. Msgr. Larry Droll at St. Ann’s Parish in Midland via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any member of the Diocesan Partnership Team.
Diocesan Partnership Team
Rev. Msgr. Larry J. Droll, Chairman - email@example.com
Sr. Malachy Griffin, OP - firstname.lastname@example.org
Clementine Urista - email@example.com
Fr. Francis Njoku - firstname.lastname@example.org
Porfirio Barajas - email@example.com
Diana Madero - firstname.lastname@example.org
Leonor Spencer - email@example.com
Luis Sanchez - firstname.lastname@example.org