|Rev. Victor with acolytes. Rehearsal for the Consecration.|
|Chander’s adobe house and meeting place for the mission.|
Soon Victor had a small group meeting regularly. After gathering in various places, eventually they were invited to the adobe home of Alexander (Chander) Flores, who converted his living room into a permanent meeting hall for the mission. Victor celebrated the Eucharist on Sundays, offered Bible studies, teachings, and other worship. He also did pastoral work, visiting families and the sick. The community continued to grow.
In gratitude for the Church of the Good Shepherd’s help, the mission voted to call themselves ‘Iglesia Buen Pastor’, which is ‘Good Shepherd’ in Spanish.
|The site of the future church. Jeannie Loving, SAMS missionary, with parishioner.|
|Fr. Tom Seitz and Rev Victor celebrating the Eucharist.|
The church has programs, in which they can participate, both spiritual and practical. They include a Savings with Education Program, which teaches people how to use their money; Cursillo, a retreat weekend with courses in basic Christianity; Happenings, a similar program for teenagers, and others. The church also gives its members the opportunity to be leaders in the church governance. Additionally, young girls, who are often neglected in favor of sons, are empowered by having women role models as priests and diocesan leaders.
|The meeting room inside Chander’s house.|
The mission’s primary work is to deepen the members’ faith in God. In Honduras, God is always present, unlike in the often agnostic US and Europe. He may be relegated to the periphery of life, as people engage in negative social behavior, such as promiscuity, drugs, family abuse and violence. But when called to task, Hondurans need no introduction to a spiritual world and know what God asks of them.
The work of the church, therefore, is to sharpen the sense of God through spiritual formation, both formal and informal, and to bring people’s lives in conformity with the teachings of Jesus.
|Alexander “Chander” Flores|
Through Victor’s efforts, the church today has 80 members and two peripheral missions starting in the mountains. And the original missionary vision that brought Victor to Santa Maria continues. Chander Flores is currently in training to be a Pastoral Leader. Upon completion of studies, he will be going into the mountains, as the pastor for one of the new missions.
1. Local leadership. The primary inspiration came from the Honduran church, in this case Fr. Juan Jose Diaz.
2. Teamwork. Although Victor provided the primary leadership, this church would not have been possible without the help of Chander, his family, the other lay Hondurans, the support of the larger church, the missionaries, and Good Shepherd Church in Florida.
3. Foreign missionary sources provided assistance only. The leadership was always in Honduran hands.
4. The Gospel was preached both by word and by example. Victor provided a positive role model for the church. He was concerned about both the spiritual and physical welfare of his parishioners.
5. The church continues to found new missions and the process begins again.