(First part Spanish, than English; primera parte Español, después Inglés)
El Vicariato de Bluefields fue erigido en el año 1913, el 2 de diciembre. El Papa de aquel tiempo, San Pío X, encargó a
El territorio de
Notes on my visit to
I had been invited by Bishop Paul Schmitz, bishop of the Vicariate of Bluefields,
Since I had prepared the last report in 2000, Bishop Paul asked that, instead of working on archives, I would help Carmen with this one. I actually spent all of my time on the report and found some very interesting facts about the growth of the Vicariate in the last eight years.
One new parish was established in2001 bringing the number to 14. 4 native priests were ordained. Of the 24 priests in the Vicariate, 13 are natives. 4 of these completed studies in
The number of Sisters has increased from 48 to 60. Vocations among young women seem to be alive and well. In fact, one congregation sends a percentage of women in formation to its motherhouse in
Catholic rural schools have increased from 419 to 508 with an increase of students from 27 thousand to 29 thousand.
In the 14 parishes there are 940 Basic Christian Communities in what we call the mountain or “bush” area. These local churches are served by 1937 Delegates of the Word, up from 1716 eight years ago, and 5008 catechists, up from 3584. The Delegates conduct Sunday services and are generally considered community leaders or “lay pastors”. The catechists prepare people for reception of the sacraments and, in some parishes, teach Sunday school. Besides these ministries there are youth ministers, visitors of the sick, and committee members of all kinds. The Church of the Vicariate of Bluefields is alive with activity and committed people.
I spent one week end in the parish where we sisters had spent more than 25 years of our time in the Vicariate, Muelle de los Bueyes. I found that many of the projects that we worked on are still on-going, though somewhat changed and adapted to the natives that are running them. It is good to see the people taking ownership of their Church and its programs.
A program to help young people in the mountain communities complete their education, Studied by Encounter, which our community continues to support financially, continues and had been adapted to include youth with possible aspirations to the priesthood or religious life.
A new program in the health field is the establishment of a “Maternity House”. It has been in operation for one year. It is housed in the former jail building. This building has been completely renovated with help from “Project
The maternity house is also used for instructive programs on pregnancy, nutrition, breastfeeding, infant and child care, domestic violence, etc. Those who participate in these programs are midwives, pregnant women and sometimes their husbands, and women in general. The number of people attending the talks varied from 14 to 43.
Another big event for the parish of Muelle was the arrival of new Sisters. The parish had been five years without sisters as the congregation who replaces us stayed only three years. A congregation from