Eight pilgrims from All Saints Church in Mission journeyed to Guatemala from August 1st – 12th. Our pilgrimage was facilitated by the Reverend Emilie Smith and we stayed at Peace House
in Santa Cruz del Quiche
for most of our time there.
We worked on a project building a shed for growing mushrooms that will enable several families to have a supplemental income. The All Saints group also visited the village of Batzula
where members of our congregation had purchased alternative Christmas gifts last December of about twenty piglets. We were received as honoured guests and it warmed our hearts to see what a difference our gift had made to the lives of twenty families in this village.
The Celtic people speak of pilgrimage as a spiritual practice in which to “seek the place of your resurrection”. During our time in Guatemala this thought permeated our times of sharing and reflection. We were privileged to have glimpses into the lives of Guatemalans in a multitude of ways including: participating in a Mayan ceremony, visiting a memorial center at a church where many Guatemalans were tortured or killed during the war, meeting with groups who are organizing and seeking ways to advocate for the rights of the poor, visiting schools and learning about their particular challenges, and worshiping at the Episcopal Church of San Juan Apostol in Chichicastenango. Throughout all of our experiences we found that something was indeed being renewed within us - our hearts were being stretched wider and a renewed sense of hope was kindled. We found growing within us a more fervent commitment to acts of peace and justice, and a deeper faith in the God who presence was keenly felt in the relationships that were made and throughout all of our experiences on this pilgrimage journey.
The October issue of Topic is scheduled to print a feature article about Reverend Emilie’s ministry at Peace House in Santa Cruz del Quiche. Should be in homes by October 10th, 2011
Images: Middle, All Saints group in Batzula. Below, the All Saints pilgrims pose against a wall with Emilie (third from right standing) and a friend.