Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
January 28, 1966     Arkansas Catholic
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January 28, 1966
 

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Reported 'Coup' Stirs Excitement for Arkansas Missioner different story. "No it wasn't Peralta, it was one of his aides." "I didn't hear that anyone was shot -- but they say Peralta's in Sail Sal- vador by now." "But, who has taken over?" They say the Chief of the Air Force." "A Military Junta, they say..." Soon, Roberto our host, re- turned. The patient had been no one in the government but a very rich man. "It was like going into a Fort -- guards with guns and hand grenades everywhere." He had not been shot- just a stroke, and Ro- berto had him taken to a hos- pital. "I asked the soldier out- side the door what was going on. He said he didn't know. He had heard there had been a change in government, but hadn't heard who had taken over." More callers, more stor- ies. "All Midnight Masses have been cancelled." "Has t h e r e been anything on the radio?" "No -- just Christmas music -- but there never is in a case like this!" I had planned to take Father Florentine back to his church and to stay for Midnight Mass. But it was thought safer for him to go in the car with "diplomatic" license plates of a U.S. Military attache, who, with his wife and two visiting nephews, were the other din- ner guests. The nephews, in their twenties, wanted to take lfim -- "because we have never seen a revolution before". And the story of "no midnight Mass- es", though unlikely, could just possibly be true. So off they went, and the children were awakened and we had the distribution of the presents under tile tree. When the boys came back, they re- ported no excitement whatever, but when we all went home a little later they followed me in (What follows is the secend and last installment of a story about the Christmas season in Guatemala, written by a promi. ne_nt Arkansas lavwoman -- a doctor -- who is doing mission work in Central America). By Dr. Frances C. Rothert : Guatemala Mission Catholic Relief Services, N.C.W.C. Apartado Postal 739 Guatemala, C.A. Guatemala was occupied in at Christmas." Dec, ember -- and before -- by My hostess for Christmas eve other more sombre matters, had asked me to bring, in my thah those previously referred car, Father Florentine, a Span- to. Politics is even worse here, ish missionary, and to get him wit.h elections scheduled for I had to go through the center Ma.rch, than before the primar- of town and past the Govern- ies in old-time Arkansas. Where ment Building. This was 7:30 our. in-fighting was between P.M. on Christmas eve. Except Democratic factions, here there for throngs of late Christmas are many ill-defined parties shoppers and extra-heavy traf- with. shifting boundaries. Fre- fic, all was calm. Father re- quently plans to remedy the marked that it was dangerous very real social injustices of driving, on account of tipsy the poor are labeled "Commu- pedestrians and lovers in cars! nistic" by the rich, and this, of (We were to have dinner before course, helps the real Commu- Midnight Mass, instead of, as nists, usual afterwards.) Two groups of Communist guerrilas are active in the jun- Rumors Heard gles toward the Atlantic Ocean; one allied with China, the oth- Around 8:30 P.M. the rumors er with Moscow; and they un- reached us. A neighbor had got- questionably have supporters in ten a telephone call. "Peralta the city. There have been kid- (the chief of state) has been nappings of rich men, and shot, they say. How horrible to large ransoms paid; assassina- do it tonight. Couldn't they at tions of Army officers and least have waited till New Year's!" A few minutes later small-town officials, and many threats and warnings and the our host, a neurologist, had an probable payment of "protec- urgent emergency call, to an tion money." There was much address near the Government muttering that the present gov- Building u no name given. ernment t2ould not control the "Oh do be careful!" situation and that a violent overthrow was coming, which "No danger -- but this means would also cancel the elections. I can't pick up Helen, who is "But," it was said, "no Guate- expecting me to get her about malan, not even a revolution- now. Frances, will you get her? cry, would start a disturbance You will be alright." So off I went for Helen, rather fright- ened, but all seemed normal. She had not heard of the 12---THE GUARDIAN "coup." More friends dropped JANUARY 28, 1966 in  as is usual on Christmas eve. Each had heard a slightly Eastern Arkansas Church, Shoppers' Guide BRINKLEY A.M. Holyday Masses: 7:00 A.M. and * * * St. John's Church. Sunday Masses: 5:30 P.M. JONESBORO I[ HELENA St. Mary's Church. Sunday Masses: 7:30 and 10:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. Holyday Masses: 8:00 A.M. and 7:30 P.M. 7:00 and 9:00 A.M. Holyday Masses: 7:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. t * * F()RREST CITY St. Francis Church, S. Washington St. Sunday Masses: 7:00 and 11:00 Gazzole Vaccaro - Leo Vaccaro - Gazzola Veccaro, Jr. Vaccaro-Grobmyer Lumber Co. "Builders oS QuaUty Homes" Ph. ME 3-1141 Forrest City, Ark. We Will Not Be Undersold... FURNITURE and APPLIANCES McKINNON'S MANILA ARKANSAS WEBB and COMPANY, Inc. Serving Eastern Arkansas "Since 1917" Webco "Pan Dandy" Pork Sausage WHOLESALE MEATS AND PROVISIONS ARKANSAS The Helena Electric Co., inc. Electrical Contractors Motors- New, Rebuilt, Rewound, Repaired Phll "Duke" Herlein, Owner.Mgr. HELENA ARKANSAS LIBERTY SUPER MARKET I;8 245 W. Broadway - West Mempbll Ark. Blessed Sacrament Church. Sunday Masses: 8:00 and 10:30 A.M. Holy- day Masses: 8:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. * r , PARAGOULD St. Mary's Church. Sunday Masses: 8:00 and 10:00 A.M. Holyday Mass- es= 6:30 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. WALNUT RIDGE Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Sunday Mass: 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays 10:00 A.M.; 2nd and 4th Sundays 7:30 A.M. Holyday Mass: 7:30 A.M. WYNNE St. Peter's Church. Sunday Masses: 7:00 and 11:00 A.M. Holyday Mass- es: 7:00 A.M. and 7:30 P.M. WEST MEMPHIS St. Michael's Church. Sunday Masses: 7:30 and 10:30 A.M. Holy- day Masses: 7:30 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. C. A. Holmun MOBIL STATION Main & Ash SL Brinkley Phone 352 We Give Quality Stamps Low Cash Prices Day In And Day Out L & M BIC STAR Rosser & Dillard Streets FORREST CITY I PATTERSON INSURANCE AGENCY DEPENDABLE PROTECTION Forrest City, Ark. ME 3-2211 See "Yellow Pages" in Telephone Directory the diplomatic car to my apart- ment house, and saw me safely into the enclosed parking. During all this time -- in fact, during all the day before, all night, the next day, and the following week -- was h e a r d continually what to the inex- pert ear sounded like gunfire; firecrackers of all sizes, in strings and in whole pages -- and rockets; but this is part of the normal celebration of any holiday, and especially of Christmas, down here. I went to noon Mass at San Augustin, the church of the American Franciscans where our Third Order was to receive a special blessing for Christ- mas. Except for so many fire- crackers thrown that I had to keep the car windows closed, all was quiet. All had heard the rumors but no one knew anything. There was a soldier with a machine gun in front of the church, which was un- usual, but that was all. l stopped in the Postoffiee; there were no guards looking into handbags for bombs as there had been when toe military first took over nearly t h re e years ago. There were just the Christmas decorations, and in the mail-distribution center be- hind the boxes the remains of yesterday's party -- there had been a marimba and dancing-- and quite a bit of undistributed mail. Of course no one was working on Christmas. Perhaps the rumors of the night before had just been rumors. Highway to Atlantic Father Malachy Murphy, one of two Irish Columban Fathers in Guatemala, had invited me to his mission, 25 miles away, for Christmas-day dinner. I left at 3:15 and got there just in time for 4:30 Mass. Most of the road was excellent. It is the highway to the Atlantic Coast, and, except for a few pedestrians and Jeeps, was quite deserted. I kept wonder- ing, if there really had been a "golpe" (extra-legal govern- ment change) and if the Com- mies took advantage of it, would they come up this high- way or keep to the woods? The three miles of road after leaving the highway were worse than I had expected, but I should know by now never to trust a missionary as to the condition of roads. After Mass, Father attended to the turkey he was roasting in his new electric stove with electricity from the new gen- erator that his last-year's Vol- unteer had raised money for in Philadelphia. John, the volun- teer now, also a teen-ager from Philadelphia, cooked the vege- tables and I made hard-sauce for the plum pudding which was steaming in its kettle on the oil-stove. Father had used the. recipe his sister had sent from Ireland, with a few ad- justments -- he couldn't find quite everything here. The oth- er invited guests did not arrive, but the three of us enjoyed a delicious meal and the flaming plum pudding at the end. Father and John took me home, the Land-Rover follow- ing my ear, over a still-deserted road and through streets with almost no one out. Had there been a curfew? Or was it just that everyone was exhausted and home early after being up nearly all the night before? No Newspapers The next day, Sunday, no newspapers. I was invited to a beach on the Pacific, the oppo- site direction from the guerril- las, but 1 was floored by a cold and the medicine I had taken for it, so I stayed in bed until time to go to a tea at five. There were only Guatemalans there, and the rumors we r e not mentioned. 1 did not see anyone I knew at the 8 P.M. Mass. Monday morning brought newspapers. A picture of Col. Peralta walking on the main street "to quiet the rumors" was on the front page, and oth- ers, with his cabinet, inside. So there had been no "golpe" after all. How had the rumors start- ed and spread so quickly. Had the Communists started them? They are certainly doing every- thing they can to keep the peo- ple upset. The rest of tlle holidays much as they would have in Arkansas; calls, (late) gifts and tele thanks for those brought reading and answering giving an Open House on birthday, and working. Having an open house one's birthday, which I cause the day happened convenient, is indeed a here. Everyone I invited telephone for it: had sudden decision, asked it was my birthday, or ass$ that it was, and many gifts. The Christmas party by the English-speaking Order of St. Francis for children who attend the ca San Antonio" or its distribution station was tainly different. This is clinic that Mrs. Traicoff  about in The Guardian summer, only I am not, have I ever been, the who works there. The supported by the Third and the Madonna Plan N.C.C.W., with a nurse, a Doctor from tle ance-for-Progress Mobile once a week, volunteer other days. The party, on uary 6 (the Three Kings bring gifts down here) more like a mob scene. than 1000 packages of toys. candy were distributed three policemen could not keep order, l was there, only took pictures; I was and could not even get where the gifts were give1 Work Continues Work? Yes, I did work ing Advent and the season. I got back to Guate early in December from a lasting more than a mont E1 Salvador, Nicaragua, Rica and Panama, where with students who had my Leadership Tr ain Courses in health and tion, and planned for more advanced courses. I back just in time to take in the last half of international seminar on Growth and Development by UNICEF and other age: Then I had to get out vitations and get the ready for a meeting of Clinic Personnel of all mala which was held 10 and 11. I spent Jan. 2, 4 at Huehuetenango, a hour's plane ride from a meeting of all clinics. One day and two nings were spent in the tation of a Sister-nurse ly come to Guatemala. the report of the Jan. meeting is being prepared mimeographing by the gift the Three Kings me -- my own secretary! Tomorrow I really must down my Christmas tions! I wish all of you the all New Years. Council On Church, Set for New York (E) -- Press, publishing divisiO the National Board of YMCA's, will publish the ficial documents of the Vatican Council, along commentaries on each Catholic scholar and a tant or an Orthodox leader. Publication March 7. The m'ganization also nounced it will publish March and May four on the Church in the m world, edited by the the World Council of es. The books, used as : documents of the world c ence on "The Church an( ciety" in Geneva in deal with such matters tian social ethics in a cha world, responsible in a revolutionary age, ec ic growth in world and man in commumty.