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The Bishop Welcomed like a Rockstar

Way back I history, priests visited San Pedro Village once in a while, and a bishop only came for confirmation every five years or so. The visit of the Catholic bishop usually coincided with the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul.

In 1925 a young and vibrant Sanpedrano, Danny Vasquez, remembers organizing a grand welcome to honor the first visit of the new bishop to ‘Belize, Most Reverend Joseph Murphy, S.J., D. D. on the 27th of June when the bishop’s steamer rounded La Punta (now the area of Victoria House), there were two rows of sailboats lined up all the way to the village. Flags and banners were flying from each boat and men on board were shouting and waving their hats. The boats then followed the bishop’s steamer all the way to the village. When the ship dropped anchor quite a way from the end of the main pier, because of the shallow water, a number of sailboats pulled side by side between the ship and the pier so that the bishop was able to walk across the sailboats to the pier.

A delegation of village leaders welcomed the bishop and the school children all dressed up in the Sunday clothes sang a song. Between the pier and the church building, a series of coconut palm arches had been erected and decorated with flowers.

The bishop walked through the arches while the choir of men and women sang hymns. The next day, June 28, the bishop sang a solemn Pontifical High Mass and confirmed the children who had practiced for months for the sacred occasion.

That night the Feast Day of St. Peter began and the next morning the bishop celebrated mass to a half-filled church. Then he left the village with hardly a soul there to see him off because everyone was busy spreeing. And our good friend Danny commented, “Funny how two days ago the entire village was out to greet him, but now not a soul to say good-bye.” Now you see, some things never change. Today it is the same as twenty five years ago.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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