¡Hola desde Costa Rica!

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Relaxing in the friary courtyard before lunch

As many of you know I have began a period of transition from my current ministry as Pastor of The Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventure in Toronto (a mouthful eh!) to become the Director of FrancisCorps, the friars’ franciscan lay volunteer experience that has as its goal the formation of lay leaders imbued with Franciscan values and spirituality.

I have been back and forth between Toronto and Syracuse to work on the smooth transition from Bro. Jim Moore, the current director. Jim was the one who took our community’s mandate for this type of ministry 13 years ago and developed it into this very wonderful organization we know now as FrancisCorps.  You may recall from previous posts that there are two sites for FrancisCorps, where our volunteers work, and these are in Syracuse and in San José, Costa Rica.  Since I will be working with this volunteers in Costa Rica a few times a year for orientation and retreats/training I thought it would be good to get some basic fluency in Spanish. This way I can at least begin some kind of conversation during my visits here. It’s also an opportunity to share more freely with our friars here in Costa Rica who have been very generous and hospitable in establishing FrancisCorps Costa Rica and are a great support to us.

So here I am now for language school. I arrived on Wednesday and will start school on Monday, April 4th, 2011, so say a prayer. I will be taking classes at the MesoAmerica Language Programme of the Institute for Central American Studies. I’ll be working with Señora Ligia who has taught Spanish to many friars. The school is a 30 minute walk from the friary in the San Pedro section of the city where the University of Costa Rica is located. There are several buses and taxi there too, but I think I want to try some walking.

The centre of San José, Costa Rica

People say that I should be good with the Spanish because of my French and Italian knowledge. Yes, it’s true but it can also mess you up at times. So, I’m a little anxious. The first day I was here I bought my school supplies… that was kind of fun and also all sorts of toiletries.

Toiletries? Yes, I have a fascination with local products especially household items and toiletries. Since I am here for about two months, I purposely brought nothing with me. I got some organic shampoo from Costa Rica, deodorant from Spain and toothpaste from Brazil… all brands, smells and tastes that are unknown to me.

The other big challenge is also the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharist. I came prepared with a Missal in Spanish complete with all the readings for daily and Sunday mass. This way I can follow along and learn the words. The friars have also been most kind in helping me find my way.  It’s rather rough right now, but I’m sure it will get better.

Well, folks, it’s almost lunch time on Friday, April 1st… and this is no joke 🙂 I’m going to go for a walk this afternoon, a bit of a dry-run to find my way to the school and check out the local scene. I need a haircut too. Now, THAT may prove interesting!!!