Nov 27, 2013

FROM THE POPE and ADVENTUS at THANKSGIVING: " The culture of prosperity deadens us..."

Thanksgiving Eve Message from the Pope and RMJ

A bit more of what-the-Pope-said to start your morning: Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us. Remember tomorrow those who must work just to keep their jobs so Wal-Mart and Target and many other stores can earn another $. "The excluded are not the 'exploited' but the outcast, the 'leftovers...please read it all'"
Thanks to RMJ Thanks to Pope Francis Thanks to Adventus, sidebar

Nov 23, 2013

KEEPING MY EYE ON THE PRIZE: Recovering/Thanksgiving from a Retinal Detachment in Northern California

Dear Friends and Blogging pals,

A few years ago I had retinal tears in my left eye.  It was a very frightening situation for me as I am an artist, I paint paintings, furniture and lots of decorative accessories.  I need my eyes.  After five surgeries (and a 8 month silicone behind the eye treatment)  and a brand new lense implanted in my eye, I could see again.  Not as well as before but gradually my vision corrected.  My fear faded and I did have my 'good' right eye which gave me huge reassurance as I painted my art projects in the studio everyday.

Recently I experienced flashes in my right eye.  I knew from my earlier experience that those flashes could be a sign of another retinal problem.  This time my 'good'  eye was vulnerable and I became very nervous as I live quite far away from Guatemala City and up very near the volcanos at a higher elevation than where I would be treated.   Surgery was needed and recovery seemed difficult as there would be lots of back and forth visits to my much trusted and fine Opthamologists, Dr. Luis and Jorge, Guatemala City.  So,  I opted to take a bit of a risk a travel to my nieces home near Sacramento, California (bonus, she is a nurse).   Thanks to Kelsie Reed, Elizabeth Bell, Juan Carlos Castillo Fuentes, Mark Creelman and Burton Pasternak I was swept off, literally door to door, to the airport the very next morning.  I had great flight connections in Houston and then quickly on to Sacramento where my niece had arranged an appointment with a leading Opthamologist.  Relief, happiness and peace of mind immediately came to mind (plus much inspiration from the dozens of prayers from my facebook and blogger friends around the world).

The very next day I had surgery.  I also had the most amazing and updated treatment one could ever hope for.  The surgeon, Dr. Robert Wendel was splendid as was all the support group of pre-op nurses, operating room staff and a really fine anatheisiologist...a giant of straightforward calm and caring.  The surgery, installing a ' buckle '  around my retinal detachment was a success.

I've had one follow up visit with Dr. Robert.  He thinks all is healing especially well and I will have another visit with him next week to review my progress.  It seems that I will actually SEE better than before.  I am relieved, I feel glad to rest and regroup in the home of my niece, Jennifer, who along with her daughter Laura have been marvelous when caring for me.  Room service and every other kindness has been coming my way.

Thanks to all of you, both family and friends.  I am still regrouping but I have so much gratitude for all of you out there in facebook/bloggerlandia. 

Prayers of Thanksgiving,
Citrus Heights, California on a sunny/chilly day

Nov 10, 2013

ACNA/ANGLICAN GLOBAL SOUTH OBSESSED WITH SEX: ¨Gafcon is clearly living in the past. Its opposition to gay rights smacks of an ´ungodly´ departure...

...from the march of history and the inevitability of equality for all.¨

Welcome to Nairobi

Welcome to All Saints Cathedral by the Archbishop of Kenya and Chairman of GAFCON, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala  -  Photographer: Russell Powell, GAFCON
Photo session with the bishops GAFCON 2013 Photographer: Andrew Gross, ACNA
¨Iconic German economic and political philosopher Karl Marx once opined that “religion is the opium of the masses”.

Obedience to faith is blind, and requires the suspension of reason.  That’s why Pope Francis is such a breath of fresh air – the first Latin Sovereign of Vatican City – has lit the Catholic Church on fire. The man born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has declared several of the Church’s teachings as “heresies”. The most significant of these is the official Catholic view on homosexuality.You don’t have to be an atheist, or an agnostic, to see the wisdom in Mr Marx’s jarring commentary. Since religion is based on faith – and not science – it’s not always rational.
Strangely, while the Catholic Church appears to be finally “seeing the light,” a benighted group of Anglican Bishops is determined to turn the clock back. Meeting in Nairobi a couple of weeks ago, a rebellious group calling itself the Global Anglican Future Conference, or Gafcon, threatened to overthrow the Archbishop of Canterbury, the overall leader of the global Anglican communion.
The group of 331 of the 871 bishops of the global Anglican clergy – drawn from Africa, Latin America, Caribbean, and Australia – accused Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury of ordaining gay bishops and recognising gay marriage.
Their beef with Canterbury is that the gospel should be taught according to Scripture, not “culture”. They vowed to “re-evangelise” the West, which has “gone astray”....please read it all:
Thanks to Standard Digital News, Kenya
Thanks to Three Rivers Episcopal, sidebar

Nov 9, 2013

COMING OUT OF YOUR CLOSET: ¨Don't keep the truth about yourself a secret.¨

Have the hard conversation (everyone has closets)

Nov 5, 2013


Imagining Possibilities at AIS from Antigua International School on Vimeo.

Doña Estela works in the home of Doña Joan Fuetsch. Estela's daughter, Astrid, is now speaking great ENGLISH as well as improved SPANISH! This is a huge thing. This is just short of a real-life miracle of vertical interaction at all levels of society (never much done here in Guatemala -- social interaction and the embracing of cultural exchange amongst various economic and ethnic levels of society).

The back story, the tenacity, the enlightenment and personal growth (on everyones part) is amazing. Here I suggest a real tribute to¨Tia¨ Joan and the everyday mentoring and technically advanced resources she has provided Astrid...Tia Joan is a frontrunner, a champ. Joan has provided opportunities for Astrids brothers and sisters and countless other children which  are  making a REAL DIFFERENCE in lives of these Guatemalans.  One child at a time. One family at a time.  One Library at a time. One municipality connection at a time.

Doña Joan, you have enhanced,  in a healthy and responsible way,  the lives of thousands of young and young adult lives in Guatemala.  Your non-stop efforts using various innovative tools and approaches to education, to real practical learning,  have brought the opportunity of education to even the most humble of communities. You, Doña Joan  and your generous friends have built libraries/learning centers (you have raised vast amounts of outside money and coordinated local, sometimes tiny, municipal governments to cooperate and join in gladly). Nobody, no government, no individual and/or few NGO´s or private program has focused for such determined successful outcomes in the learning field...learning for all, opportunity for all.

BRAVA! BRAVO! Thanks to Tia Joan and her friendly/generous accomplices who help to build education and responsible social change by enhancing and the creation of more whole and  wholesome lives here in Guatemala with their hands on effort to update personal health information, social interaction and technolized learning.

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonard Clark Beardsley
Sacatepequez, Guatemala

Joan Fuetsch can be reached at:
joan.fuetsch at gmail dot com

Nov 1, 2013

IN GUATEMALA WE HONOR THE DEAD: Sending messages of loving rememberance to those who have gone away (not far away)

The Giant Kites of Sumpango carry messages to the heavens
All Saints Day, celebrated on November 1, is celebrated with unique traditions throughout Guatemala. Giant kites are flown in the cemeteries of Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango near Antigua Guatemala.

Remembering dear friend and loved one Jose Luis A.R., 1997, R.I.P.

Each October 31 and November 1, families all over central America gather to honor their dead in family cemeteries. Plots are cleared of debris, flowers are placed, and candles are lit. It is a day of celebration, of remembering and honoring those who came before.

The Cemetery at Sumpango, Sacatapequez, Guatemala
Photos thanks to Juan Carlos C.F.

The Spirit of Iximche: In Spanish and Kaqchikel -- Thanking Mother Earth for her bounty

I often visit Maya ruins in Central America. One of my favorite ancient places is Iximche...Iximche isn't a huge city but it is heavy with Kaqchikel lore (and key Spanish Colonial History) and thick with modest ruins of gorgeous temples, grassy gaming fields and sacred ceremonial countryside space....Iximche doesn't get a lot of tourists dropping in as do Copan, Vera Cruz or Tikal...Iximche is my kind of a quiet and mysterious, close-to-the-earth kinda of a whafting spirit of a Holy place.

The first time I went to Iximche was with my friend Jose Luis A.R. and that was over two decades ago...we were the only visitors and we strolled around in the early morning misty sacred space of a place and I felt I had been there before...a long time before.

A few years ago when sharing Iximche with Juan Carlos (we visit Iximche often) and visitor from the United States we also were quite alone but the sacred space seemed filled with uplifting spirituality, almost brimming with quiet conviviality...we hiked around and we came upon my favorite part...the place where the Shaman perform their purifying rites.

Out of nowhere, literally from the forest, a Shaman (similar to the holyman in the painting above/artist unknown) appeared. He ignored my friend Juan Carlos C.F. and I as an associate of his stood not far away on a little hill as a sort of traditional guard/scout (I think)...anyway the fire started, the Shaman wraped his headscarf around his head, said a prayer and crossed himself to the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" as he knelt down...chanting, Spanish and Kaqchikel, thanking Mother Earth for her bounty and as the ritual continued he added libations and offerings of flowers, candles, sweets, meats, alcohol, eggs with shell, and lots and lots of dry herbs...all the time thanking God and thanking Mother Earth that had blessed us all with our being.

I moved closer and the Shaman invited me to join him, on my knees by the fire...I did (my friends moved further back on a neighboring knoll) he continued his chanting and prayers of thanksgiving a swarm of bees came to our fire...many bees, maybe dozens of bees (but I don't want to turn this into a "fish" story)....the bees in multiples started landing on my outstretched bare arms...he told me not to worry the bees had come to offer a fine blessing to me...a blessing from Mother Earth personally so I closed my eyes and opened my heart and received it willingly...¨ I offer humble thanks, before and now, Leonardo Ricardo HERE

OUR LOSS OF A SAINTLY FRIEND: The Rev. Lawrence Rosebaugh, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, worker amongst the poorest of the poor--murdered in 2009

·The Reverend Lawrence Rosebaugh· ¨served the poorest of the poor¨  (from my blog May 22, 2009)

Prayers for our departed friend
The Rev. Lawrence Rosebaugh, a 74-year-old priest who studied at a seminary in Belleville but spent most of his life living among the poor in Central and South America, was shot to death Monday during a robbery in Guatemala.

"As a priest, he was not the collar type of priest," said his close friend, Sam Hladyshewsky, of Shiloh, who attended the former St. Henry's Preparatory Seminary in Belleville with Rosebaugh during the late 1950s.

"When you looked at him, you'd think he was the poorest of the poor. And those are the ones he served," said Hladyshewsky, a former priest.

The funeral will be today in Guatemala City, according to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, of which Rosebaugh had long been a member. The international missions group operates the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville.

"He lived on the street most of the time because he ministered to the homeless," said the Rev. Allen Maes, an Oblate priest at the shrine.

Rosebaugh, of Milwaukee, was shot multiple times by masked gunmen who stopped a car carrying him and four other missionaries en route to a meeting in Playa Grande, Guatemala. The attackers took about $125, a cellular telephone and religious ornaments. A spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City said she could not legally provide any information about Rosebaugh's death.

"Lorenzo's violent and unexpected death has given us another saint," said the Rev. Felix Garcia, a member of Rosebaugh's missionary group in Guatemala. Rosebaugh had served as a missionary for about 10 years in the Central America country.

Rosebaugh, whose late mother, Mildred Rosebaugh, lived for years in the apartment community at the shrine, often returned to the metro-east and was looking forward to retiring here within a few years. He published his autobiography, "To Wisdom Through Failure," in 2006.

In April, Rosebaugh, who signed his letters "Lorenzo," sent e-mails to Hladyshewsky, telling his friend about his work at a Guatemala hospital ministering to AIDS victims and helping street people. He also spoke of working with the sisters of Mother Teresa and of providing a liturgy at a vigil for two boys, ages 13 and 16, murdered by gangs in one of the poorest sections of Guatemala City.

In another recent message, Rosebaugh wrote: "This Holy Week I had three good days of retreat by myself in a great quiet place with beautiful trees and nature, only to view the devastated living conditions of the poorest just across the way. To have that reality so close made for an even better Holy Week for me." read it all, the full story regarding the life of Padre Lorenzo, click HERE

"To Wisdom Through Failure" By Lawrence Rosebaugh, OMI

Larry Rosebaugh is a modern-day St. Francis, and meeting him years ago was a great blessing in my life. His gentle spirit, brave heart and deep love for the poor and oppressed give us hope in today’s struggle for peace and justice. To Wisdom Through Failure is a wonderful book that will inspire, challenge and touch your heart deeply.” — Fr. Roy Bourgeois, MM, School of the Americas Watch

¨This week, we found out that a very dear friend was killed in Guatemala. Fr. Lorenzo has been working in Guatemala ministering to the poor in the hospitals and the children with aids. He was on his way to a meeting on Monday when robbers shot him. Just the Monday before, he was visiting us and telling us of his plans to return to work in St. Louis. He was 74 years old and has led a very humble life style. Fr. Lorenzo has celebrated the Mass with us on special occasions. We have no doubt that he is receiving the true blessings of his holy life, but we will feel the sadness and the loss of a friend.¨ Elizabeth and Tom McCullough

"To Wisdom Through Failure," 2006, by The Reverend Lawrence Rosebaugh, click HERE to find out the details on how to secure a copy of his book  (This post remains the most read and visited entry at Eruptions at the Foot of the Volcano, month after month, year after year)

·Thanks to The Associated Press
·Thanks to George Pawlaczyk, News-Democrat
·Thanks to The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
·Thanks to Flickr Photosharing