The superiors of the Society of Jesus have a memory. In 1954, the year I entered the Society, our Provincial came to visit us. He asked me what I would like to do when finishing the formation years. I said I would like to go to our missions in Honduras. During my scholastic years, however, I had given up the hope of going to Central America since my language skills were poor. Our God, however, is a God of surprises. My first assignment after ordination was pastoral work in Yoro, Honduras.
There I spent twelve gifted years of lights and some darkness. The lights were: getting to know and love the Hondurans, sharing with my fellow men and women companions in the service and promotion of a faith doing justice.
The darknesses were: it was revolutionary times, especially in our neighboring countries of Nicaragua and El Salvador. Honduras, thank God, escaped the terrible effects of civil war. The church, however, in its service to the poor was often held in suspicion by many of the political elite and military. During the social tension of the seventies, natural disasters of hurricanes and heavy rains all seemed to leave the country in a messy state of being. Sadly, at this time many of my companion Jesuits left the Society of Jesus.
I don’t do well when the reality of life outside of me and within me become messy. So after 12 years in Honduras, I made a retreat under the direction of Fr. Vince Hovley. Reflecting on a text of John’s Gospel, the thought of these words came to me: “We have had good times together.” Recalling these words of some 30 years ago, I still tend to tear up.
With God’s help I can say: yes, “we have had good times together” in the past, and now in the present, and will have even in the future. So, thank you, Lord, thank you all with whom we have shared good times.