Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 13, 2006
Discordant musicians take their instruments and leave
Priest urges angry folk to talk until they sing from the same page again
A Missionary's Musings
By FR. JACQUES JOHNSON
The door at the rectory in Chicaman just rang. I went to open the garage door which opens directly on the street and there two young men in their mid-20s were waiting.
I greeted them and asked them what I could do for them.
"We're from Tiritobol, they said, and we need to speak with Father Sergio." I invited them in as I proceeded to get Father Sergio.
They were from one of our 70 villages, a community called Tiritibol, about two hours by truck from here. One was named Eugenio Coc Caal and his companion was Agustine Chicaj Suc.
I asked the men how they travelled. "We got up early and we walked," they said.
That must have been a four-hour hike.
Sergio already knew what was going on. There has been a split among the charismatic community of Tiritibol, a community of some 500 people.
Father Sergio was in his office and he was expecting them.
I've celebrated Mass and the sacraments there a few times. The church is large and easily accommodates 500 people.
Two music groups alternate every Sunday and lead the music.
The leader of one of the groups, for whatever reason, decided to call it quits.
The music ends
He and a few followers went over to the evangelicals and brought with them all the musical instruments, including the sound system - a major scandal in the community.
The two men came to ask financial support so that they could buy a new sound system along with guitars and an organ with also the possibility of eventually purchasing a new marimba, a popular musical instrument in this country.
Sergio asked my advice. I told him clarity must be made as to who paid for the instruments in the first place and that efforts be made to recuperate what truly belongs to the Catholic party.
Sergio's idea was that the parish buys the instruments and that the people pay back a percentage of the cost so much per month.
The two men were in agreement.
So they and Sergio went out shopping. After a while they returned with a portable piano-organ and a new sound system.
The two men both felt that they were given life although it was understood that their community would have to pay back most of the amount Father Sergio was spending for them.
The olive branch
I invited them to work toward reconciliation with the small group of three families that broke away, so that they may return to the flock, so that they may be one again.
The challenge to unity goes a long way back. Before Jesus died, he prayed to God "that they may be one, as you Father and I are one."
That prayer remains central to our Christian faith. To be fully Christian supposes that we love each other, that we seek unity and that we give unity a major priority in the way we deal with all people, even at the cost of compromising our sacred cows a bit now and then.
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