Conexion San Angelo/Staff report

SAN ANGELO–Representatives of the Texas Dioceses of Tyler and San Angelo and the Honduran Dioceses of San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba will meet in San Angelo August 8-12 to celebrate the fifteenth an-niversary of the partnership and make plans for the future.  The partnership is called the “Her-manamiento.”

4 bishops from 2 countries to concelebrate Mass August 10 at the Cathedral.

The highlight of the event will be Holy Mass, offered at Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Angelo on Wednesday, August 10 at 6:00 p.m. Bishop Michael Sis will preside, joined by Tyler Bishop Jo-seph Strickland and Honduran Bishops Angel Garachana and Michael Lenihan. They will sign a “covenant” (agreement) to re-launch and re-commit to the relationship.

The public is invited to attend.  A reception and celebration follows in the gymnasium.

“Over 135 people from the Diocese of San Angelo have made mission trips to Honduras and many others have been involved locally to host Honduran groups visiting here,” said Msgr. Larry Droll, pastor of St. Ann in Midland who has had an involvement in the partnership since its incep-tion. “The visits are important; they introduce us to one another, we pray and work together, we develop lasting friendships.”

The Hermanamiento developed out of a response by all the dioceses of Texas to Hurricane Mitch, a storm which devastated Honduras in October, 1998.  Fourteen Texas dioceses paired up with seven Honduran dioceses for hurricane relief in 1999.

That same year, Saint Pope John Paul II published “The Church in America,” calling on dio-ceses to establish relationships with others in North, Central and South America.  He believed this would help us to encounter Christ in one another and build up the strength of the universal Catholic Church.  The bishops of Texas enlisted the help of Catholic Relief Services to help dio-ceses in Texas and Honduras to establish these relationships, based on the pairings that already existed from hurricane relief.

The dioceses of San Angelo and Tyler entered into a covenant agreement with the Diocese of San Pedro Sula.  The covenant was signed on a memorable day, September 11, 2001, at Sa-cred Heart Cathedral in San Angelo.  Recently the Diocese of San Pedro Sula was divided and La Ceiba became the See City of a section of the Caribbean coast and the Bay Islands (includ-ing Roatan).  So the Diocese of La Ceiba is now included in the Hermanamiento as well.

Each diocese has a diocesan team to promote the Hermanamiento.  Msgr. Larry Droll (Mid-land) heads up the San Angelo team that includes Sr. Malachy Griffin, Clementine Urista, Mary Hernandez, Tony Gonzales (all of San Angelo), Leonor Spencer (Midland), Diana Madero (Odessa) and Fr. Francis Njoku (Brownwood).  The four diocesan teams meet annually to pro-mote the work of the Hermanamiento, rotating the place of the meetings.  They also have the opportunity to visit the various ministries of the individual dioceses, ranging from parishes to edu-cational institutions to charities to homes for the elderly and infirm.

Parishes in the San Angelo diocese have partnerships with parishes in the San Pedro Sula dio-cese.  The most active currently are St. Ann’s (Midland) with Santisima Trinidad (Chamelecon) and St. Joseph/St. Anthony (Odessa) with Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz (Baracoa).  Annual recip-rocal visits characterize the relationships, with prayer for one another and the sharing of re-sources.

Looking toward the future, the Hermanamiento diocesan teams hope to re-launch the program, inviting more parishes and schools to join in.  They hope to renew efforts at prayer and relation-ships with one another.  They hope to study together the challenging documents of Pope Francis and work in solidarity to apply these to the Church and society.