Well, a lot has happened since I last wrote to you in July. I have ended my five year missionary work in Nueva Prosperina and am now firmly at home in my new Parish of St. Matthew’s in Kilmarnock. This newsletter comes by way of bringing you up to date with how I said farewell to my beloved Guayaquil and also asking your continued help for the missionary projects that still need to be supported.
Once the last of my Scottish visitors left, it was time, in the middle of July, to start telling my Ecuadorian parishioners that I was about to leave them. I knew it was going to be hard, but, on the weekend of the announcement, it seemed to be nonstop tears. With Adela, Freddy, Tito, Carol and a whole host of folk, we were
in tears for days. After a few days though, the reality started to kick in and I realised I had to get so much together in order to hand over the school and parish.
Everyone wanted to say a personal farewell and I tried to get round as many people as possible. And when it came to the final weekend, there was a party in each of the chapels, an open-air concert and march to the airport. A bit over the top, I thought, but it was very Latin and, indeed, very enjoyable. Throughout all of this time, I tried to hold myself together, but I am not ashamed to admit that, at the airport, there were tears streaming down my face.
My successor in the parish is a local priest, Fr. Gonzalo Lopez, who is not as extrovert as yours truly, so there might be less clapping and singing at the Masses. However, early indications are that he has got everyone on board and that the parish is as active as it always was. Of course, I had known for some time that I was leaving and yet it was hard to turn my back on my community knowing that they had and still have so many needs. Still no running water, no sewerage, no proper health care. And so I pledged that I would do all I can to keep the central projects together. This is where I ask for your continued generosity….