Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oscar Romero Prayer

Each day at 5:30 PM we gathered to have devotion, reflecting on scripture, a quote, some questions and our experience thus far. At the back of the devotion (put together by Evans), there was this prayer written in honor of Arch Bishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered in El Salvador around 1980 in his church while presiding over mass, because of his stance alongside the poor and oppressed. We read this prayer aloud several times through the course of our journey, each person taking a line. It really captured what the trip and mission is all about. 

Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer: A Step Along The Way

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. 

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw 


*This prayer was composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden in Nov. 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled "The mystery of the Romero Prayer." The mystery is that the words of the prayer are attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him.

Footprints in the Sand

I thought this photo would be a fitting last shot of our time in the Philippines - taken right before we headed to the Dumaguete airport. We leave more than our footprints in the sand. We leave a various buildings (dental clinic, homes, community centers), relationships (strengthened old ones and budding new ones), and projects (chickens, sewing, jail ministry, books, etc.). We take with us memories of a lifetime and continued work with the church, university, Habitat, jail, city and others as we seek to beckon in the Kingdom of God with our brothers and sisters in Christ. May God carry the work we have started to its desired completion, greening the rocks and casting the warm rays of sunlight to guide the way. Amen.

Piece of Paradise

Some of my group members aren't going to be happy with this post, but in case you thought we were working 24/7, we did take some Sabbath time and get out of Dumaguete to a beautiful beach for snorkeling, sunbathing and just relaxing. Our souls were definitely restored as we returned to work on Monday.

Pre-Dedication Ceremony

We weren't able to complete the community center, but the funds and workers are there to finish it as we return to the states. We had a nice pre-dedication ceremony including singing, worship, prayer and a number of speeches, including one from the mayor! It was good to see the community invested in the project. As the prayer in honor of Oscar Romero says, we servant workers, not master builders; we plant the seeds that will one day grow; we are prophets of a future not our own.

Tour of Old Manila

Several of us went on a tour of Manila between lunch and dinner at TGI Fridays!  The area of Manila is called Intramuralas, which Evans translated as "inside the walls," referring to the walls surrounding the old town. We walked around the fort area and learned a lot about the poet and 'soul' of the independence movement from Spain, Jose Rizal. His final address is pasted here - he hid it on a tiny sheet of paper inside a lantern right before he was executed. 

My Last Farewell

by Jose Rizal

 Farewell, dear Fatherland, clime of the sun caress'd
Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost!,
Gladly now I go to give thee this faded life's best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blest
Still would I give it thee, nor count the cost.

On the field of battle, 'mid the frenzy of fight, 
Others have given their lives, without doubt or heed; 
The place matters not-cypress or laurel or lily white,
Scaffold or open plain, combat or martyrdom's plight,
T is ever the same, to serve our home and country's need.

I die just when I see the dawn break, 
Through the gloom of night, to herald the day; 
And if color is lacking my blood thou shalt take,
Pour'd out at need for thy dear sake 
To dye with its crimson the waking ray.

My dreams, when life first opened to me, 
My dreams, when the hopes of youth beat high, 
Were to see thy lov'd face, O gem of the Orient sea 
From gloom and grief, from care and sorrow free; 
No blush on thy brow, no tear in thine eye.

Dream of my life, my living and burning desire, 
All hail ! cries the soul that is now to take flight; 
All hail ! And sweet it is for thee to expire ; 
To die for thy sake, that thou mayst aspire;
And sleep in thy bosom eternity's long night.

If over my grave some day thou seest grow, 
In the grassy sod, a humble flower, 
Draw it to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
While I may feel on my brow in the cold tomb below 
The touch of thy tenderness, thy breath's warm power.

Let the moon beam over me soft and serene, 
Let the dawn shed over me its radiant flashes, 
Let the wind with sad lament over me keen ; 
And if on my cross a bird should be seen, 
Let it trill there its hymn of peace to my ashes.
Let the sun draw the vapors up to the sky,
And heavenward in purity bear my tardy protest
Let some kind soul o 'er my untimely fate sigh,
And in the still evening a prayer be lifted on high
From thee, 0 my country, that in God I may rest.

Pray for all those that hapless have died,
For all who have suffered the unmeasur'd pain;
For our mothers that bitterly their woes have cried,
For widows and orphans, for captives by torture tried
And then for thyself that redemption thou mayst gain.

And when the dark night wraps the graveyard around
With only the dead in their vigil to see
Break not my repose or the mystery profound
And perchance thou mayst hear a sad hymn resound
'T is I, O my country, raising a song unto thee.

And even my grave is remembered no more
Unmark'd by never a cross nor a stone
Let the plow sweep through it, the spade turn it o'er
That my ashes may carpet earthly floor,
Before into nothingness at last they are blown.

Then will oblivion bring to me no care 
As over thy vales and plains I sweep;
Throbbing and cleansed in thy space and air 
With color and light, with song and lament I fare, 
Ever repeating the faith that I keep.

My Fatherland ador'd, that sadness to my sorrow lends
Beloved Filipinas, hear now my last good-by! 
I give thee all: parents and kindred and friends
For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e'er on high!

Farewell to you all, from my soul torn away,
Friends of my childhood in the home dispossessed !
Give thanks that I rest from the wearisome day !
Farewell to thee, too, sweet friend that lightened my way;
Beloved creatures all, farewell! In death there is rest !


Sent from my iPad

Monday, January 28, 2013

Scholarship Graduate

Today at the worksite Ruby, a graduate who we supported through a Habitat scholarship, stopped by after traveling two hours to see us! These scholarships are given to children in Habitat communities whose families are keeping up with payments (about $6-7/mo.) but can't afford to send their children to school. We first met her when she was 9 in 1999. She is now a nursing graduate, married to a police man, with child, and applying for a nursing job in Canada. We are so pleased to see her and proud of what she's done!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunrise and the Kingdom of God

Beautiful sunrise today. Last photo shows the "boulevard" or why we'd call a boardwalk where many of us go walking each morning. It's the pride and joy of Dumaguete... We just have two more days here before heading back to Manila on Wednesday. Last night we talked about where we saw the Kingdom of God in our midst. Answers included the beauty of the land, the beauty of the people, the sacrifices they made for each other, working alongside and communing with the poor, seeing our hopes and dreams start to take fruition, harmony in the jail... We prayed we might have eyes to see the Kingdom of God when we return to Ann Arbor. - Evans