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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
December 15, 1991     Arkansas Catholic
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December 15, 1991
 

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ARKANSAS CATHOLIC DECEMBER 15, 1991 PAGE 13 Missionary in Guatemala: World is interdependent "Necessity" is relevant Quiche Mayans build a road connecting villages. By St. ~ Mayer, OSB Fr. David Barond may look North American with his curly blond hair and freckles, but after 15 years in Guatemala, he has become one with the Quiche Mayans he serves in Santa Catharina/ Xtahuacan in Solola. A priest from the Diocese of Spokane, WA, he now speaks the'native Quiclqe; a language derived from Mayan and Nahuatl (Mexican Indian), in addition to Spanish. He is presently compiling the first Fr. Bamnti dictionary in Quiche, along with a team of Quiche Mayans. He hopes to have it completed next year, after working on it for ten years. He is also working on a Sunday missal in the Quiche language. His prindple project, however, has been organizing the building of an 18-mile road con- necting the (mountain villages) to the main village and to the coastal highway. A 55- ton Caterpillar tractor donated by Catholics in the Diocese of Spokane is the only mechanical assistance; about 100 people have been doing the main work of digging ditches for the past four year~ It is a monumental task, but when it is complel~l, it will enable people in the iso- hted ag~ to ha~ aece~ to education and otber opportunities. Most of the people over SO are illim-a and less than half speak Spanish. Ft. Baronti's parish consists of the town of Santa Catharina plus about 15 a/dins, a total of a to/]o,ooo Tho/h p.- mary ~.hooh in five of the ~ and have be- gun a secondary sdaool in town. The parish also provides a clinic and a nuwition for mothers and infants. "Malnutrition is endemic," Ft. Barond said during a recent visit to the (]aristian Founda- tion headquarters in Kansas City, KS. "All the pmple are subsistence farmers and their food lasts only four and a half months, then they have to buy at the market-" The parish operates the clinic and nutrition prognm through hdp from its si=er parish, St. Patrick in Pasco, WA, and CAR1TAS in SoMa, Guatemala. Two Sisters of Charity from New York, a nurse and a catechist' assist in the par- ish. The houses in town vary from adobe to bamboo stalks and only about 200 families have electridty. Most of the people have access to running water within a block of their homes, but most do not have latrines. Fr. Barond is planning to begin a sponsorship program around us, but because of the backwardness of the US. the people in Xtahuacan, the army assumed "It made me veIy aware that the world is they had no contact with the guerilla.s," the priest interdependent and interconnected," he said. said. "We had few teachers or students and most 'CHow people live in the U.S. affects how the of the inhabitants could not speak Spanish." people in Guatemala live. It made me more One of the most rewarding parts of his min- conscious of choosing not to be swept up by the isuy has been the growth of the faith commu- consumer society that the U.S. represents. I nity during the last three year~ %ince the people realized how Americans are manipulated by the live in community naturally, Christian base com- mass media and how unfree we are -- how we munities don't really need to be organized," Fr. need things that don't really matter....The people Baronti explained. "We have regular gatherings in Guatemala are more connected to the root to share the Scriptures. Because of the disap- realities of life -- death, relationships, God, pearances and murders that still occur, how- prayer. In the U.S., people are more connected ever, I th~nk twice about puslfing actions that I with synthetic things and concerns." would not be willing to do myself." (Sr. Bar&wa Mayer, OSd3, ~ites from Kansas His experience in Guatemala has had a pro- City, KS~ where she works with the C)~tian Founda- found effect on the way he views the world and tion for C)dldren and Aging.) Aaron ~ss, Owner STEAK HOUSE & RED COAT TAq, RN " Serving the best prime-rib for over 20 years" 3 blocks west of North Little Rock Holiday Inn Open 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM Monday through Thursday Friday and Saturday 5:00 PM to 10:30 PM "How people live in the U.S. affects how the people in Gua- temala live." through the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging to further assist the poorest families in the area. Fr. Baronfi has ~ through some tense times, especially in 1981-2 when it seemed that every month a priest was either kidnapped or killed. His own life was threatened at one time and he had to leave the town for about three t't month~ He knew Fr. Stanley Rother, the priest " , a ~l lit from Oklahoma who was killed in Santiago f Atitlan in 1981. Fr. Rother s death increased O the tension since he was the first North Ameri- f,r~|f* h can priest killed, Fr. Barond said. ~,ll "naere were di opearances of people all lq Good Shepherd Relirement times a # 3 8/ pherd s Cove L/tt/e Rw.k year, C. ly has efr i / 1-BR in tlw thly leo are two ( 2 ) meals day, a wink caUe tv Give alarms ml , m ty. G00d 01lets a, mm t th va xls ac bs aval. able 10r your j0ym t. Phase call (,Y)I) 224-7200 lor more infor- mally. A qSAS CAmOL C for Christmas. $15 for one subscription $13 for two or more and $8 for Clergy or Religious ~Box [Name A card will accompany your gift. [