Bonus – AWOL?

IMG_0415Gentle Readers,

You will have noticed that I have not exactly been terribly present of late.  The truth is that I went to Brazil to see my sister and got back late on Monday. I only had sporadic access to the very poor internet service available there.

On Friday, I leave for an 8-day immersion experience in El Salvador.  I may or may not be able to get online to respond to your comments. I am trusting in your patience and kindness.  Know that if I can communicate with you, I will.

Please pray for the success of this venture.  On Wednesday, the State Department issued a travel warning for El Salvador and five of our members decided to opt out of the experience.


[Photograph is of a beach-side parish church north of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil]



    • Paul says


      Everyone I’ve talked to says it will be safe. There is more violence in Chicago than in San Salvador!


  1. Denise J says

    I hope you have a wonderful immersion week, and I look forward to reading about it when you get back. Godspeed. Enjoy the weather.

  2. Simon says

    What is an “immersion week”? Whatever it is I hope it is fun and enlightening.

    I did notice your comment earlier this week about your long weekend in Brazil visiting your sister. I did think how the world has become a much smaller place for everyone in the past thirty years. I’ll bet that as a wee lad in Belfast you didn’t dream that you’d be popping to Brazil for a long weekend eh? :-)

    • Paul says


      I’ve never participated in an immersion experience before (and here I am as the group leader!) but I’ve been told that it is a time to spend with and for the poor and vulnerable.


    • Paul says


      We’ll see what develops. My colleagues who have already made this trip have returned shaken and unsettled.


    • Paul says


      Thank you. I hope I will come back with all the others. The last thing I want to do is chicken out in the middle and start screaming, “Get me out of here!”


  3. says

    Prayers for your journey. A priest friend of mine just got back from a Maryknoll-lead priest retreat to various places in Guatemala and El Salvador. He said there were things brewing. On the other hand, another priest friend of mine, a woman, an Episcopal priest, goes to El Salvador at least once a year, travels by bus with the locals, etc – she has been doing this for years. I will ask her to pray for your safety as well.

    And not to suggest we stand on the train tracks and subject ourselves to danger frivolously, but is there anything safe about following Christ? I do realize that I type this from the comfort of my suburban parish office.

  4. Emma says

    You sure do get around! When we travelled through Guatemala, Belize and So. Mexico there were also travel advisories in effect. I am grateful that we didn’t let that deter us. The only instances when I felt threatened were the time the beetle snuck into the tent and when we got lost in the jungle (we were rescued and fed by a local, thank God) . I suspect those who returned shaken, were moved by the stark difference between what we think of as poverty in our country and the face of poverty as it reveals itself in other parts of the world. May you shine the Light of Christ onto whomever you meet. Our prayers are with you.

  5. Eli says

    Praying for your journey. May you, your group, and those you encounter be blessed and safe. Looking forward to reading your sharings.

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