Looking Forward to 50 Years of Evangelization in Guatemala
In his recent Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis devotes the entirety of his first chapter to the missionary work of the Church. He begins by saying that: “Evangelization takes place in obedience to the missionary mandate of Jesus: ‘ Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.’ (Mt. 28:19-20) In these verses we see how the risen Christ sent his followers to preach the Gospel in every time and place, so that faith in him might spread to every corner of the earth.” (The Joy of the Gospel, # 19)
The intention and we could say, the dream of Jesus, was for his followers to proclaim the Gospel to all peoples throughout the centuries. Pope Francis, in accord with Jesus’ intention, says: “I dream of a ‘missionary option,’ that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” (The Joy of the Gospel, # 27)
This “missionary” dream was and remains the basis for Marmion Abbey’s Guatemala Mission. On June 10, 2015, our mission will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary of evangelization, of obedience to the missionary mandate of Jesus. During the past fifty years, our Guatemala mission has changed and has grown in many ways. On June 10, 1965, Abbot Gerald Benkert gave the missionary blessing to the first four missionary monks of Marmion Abbey: Father Patrick Greene, Father Matthias Zinkan, Father Mark Hogan and Father Conrad Lamb. They were soon joined by Father David Palmatier and Father Francis Daleiden. Today, our Guatemala Benedictine community remains at our mission, but now they are all Guatemalans. During its first twenty-six years, the mission was located in the town of Solola. Since 1991 it is located in the city of Quetzaltenango. Throughout the years the Benedictine monks have remained focused on the missionary work of evangelizing through their witness of common life and prayer, and through their continuing ministry of providing Catholic secondary education for young men.
As we look forward in 2015 to celebrating 50 years of our Guatemala mission, I would like to thank everyone in the “Marmion family” for your continued prayers, friendship and support for Marmion Abbey’s Guatemala mission.
God bless you!
Abbot John Brahill, O.S.B. ‘67