by Rev. Msgr. Larry Droll
St. Ann’s Parish in Midland welcomed four visitors from its partner-parish in Honduras, November 9-16. The partnership agreement among the various dioceses in the “Hermanamiento” calls for reciprocal visits to learn about one another’s parish and programs and to deepen the relationship.
St. Ann’s has been partnered with Most Holy Trinity Parish of Chamelecon, a sector of the large city of San Pedro Sula, for about seven years. Groups from St. Ann’s have visited there almost every year and the pastor of Holy Trinity has visited in Midland several times. But this was the first time he was joined by other members of the parish.
Coming from Honduras were Padre Luis Estevez, pastor; Reina Ramirez, who coordinates a parish-based “Headstart” program to prepare children at risk for first grade; Osman Reyes, who teaches in a program called “IHER” to prepare students of high school age and older to get a high school equivalency diploma; and Jean Carlo Ventura, who coordinates youth programs at several parish sites.
Holy Trinity Parish has the main church and twelve satellite chapels, serving a general population of 80,000. They have three of the “Headstart” type programs for little children and two of the IHER programs, the latter serving 345 students.
The visitors came to observe a parish in the USA. Our style of parish is to have one big campus, to which everyone travels on their own. They were astounded to see the number of cars and trucks in the parking lots, as people gathered for Masses, classes, and various educational programs.
The group also visited the parish in Stanton, with its mission in Lenorah, to see another type of parish style, the smaller rural parishes and missions so typical of the Diocese of San Angelo.
Part of life in West Texas is the ranching industry, so the group visited the Parks Ranch, operated by St. Ann’s parishioners, were they fed some cows and rode a horse. They were treated to lunch under the trees at the ranch house. The group also attended a Saturday evening rodeo performance.
St. Ann’s Parish Partnership Team hosted the group and was involved in many of the activities. Anyone who had ever visited Chamelecon during all the years of the partnership was invited to the farewell dinner on November 15.
Such visits help us to get to know one another, building communion within the universal Church, and to deepen the relationship.