Peace be with you!

My name is Nader Ata. I am a Conventual Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of Angels Province, USA. I am a transitional deacon preparing for Priesthood Ordination in the fall.

Seeking to live with Franciscan Joy each and every day!

*All of photos on this blog were taken by me unless noted otherwise. Please ask permission before using them. Thank You!*

*Also I am not the greatest speller or writer in the world, so please let me know if something is misspelled. Thank you!"


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Relics of St. Anthony Part 3...

The Relics of St. Anthony have now come to Costa Rica and are now back in Padua.  It was a wonderful and awe-inspiring to have the relics with us and all the experience that went with them, even the stressful ones.
Here is a photo of the Anointing of the Sick that took place September 3.
Here is a photo of the Secular Franciscans giving away "St. Anthony's bread after mass on that same day.
From St. Anthony's in Belen here is a photo of Fr. Luciano explaining about the relics in Italian and Fray Victor translating what he said into Spanish.
Here are the infamous petitions and intentions for the intercession of St. Anthony from the people.  Every couple of days we would spread out the petitions and intentions on the dining room table to sort them.  We separated those that addresses or e-mail addresses on them from those that did not because there are people in Padua who will respond to everyone that wrote down their contact information.  

Now do not be fooled, this is not all of them that were written. After being sorted they will all be sent to Padua and placed on the tomb of St. Anthony, the friars will pray for the petitions and intentions daily, and then eventually they will get burned.  There are many more than are in the photo above, it was amazing to see the faith of present on these papers.  I do not want to apply that I read them, but I am referring to the amount of things people wrote filling the papers and to the various materials people used to write their petitions (for example: business cards, receipts, pages from calendars, and newspaper or magazine ads.
Above is a photo of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders visiting the relics.  Below are two collages that were made by the children in 3rd graders.
This one is an image of St. Anthony's miracle of the Real Presence of the Eucharist. As the story goes a person did not believe in the real presence and told St. Anthony that his donkey after not eating for three days would choose to eat hay over the Eucharist. Well the donkey venerated the Eucharist.  Here is a link to the full story, St. Anthony and the Real Presence of the Eucharist.
This one is an image of St. Anthony preaching to fish. In the city of Rimini, the people would not listen to St. Anthony's preaching so he preached to the fish and the listened. Eventually the people of Rimini began to listen to him.  Here is a link to the full story, St. Anthony and Preaching to the Fish.
Here is photo of the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders visiting the relics.
And here a photo of the preschool visiting the relics.  I have to say that for me this was the most emotional part of my time with the relics.  The children sang a song to St. Anthony with hand motions and everything.  It was so moving, even Fray Luciano and Javier joined in; I would have to but I was controlling the music. The faith of the smallest children of the school was amazing.  

After singing, like all of the other groups, the student had a chance to see the relics close-up and to touch the reliquary. Fray Luciano asked if I would hold the reliquary as the little kids venerated the relics, I said yes.  I was surprised and honored at the same time. I knelt on the floor and one by one each child came to touch the reliquary.  We told them "Tocar y Rezar" meaning "To Touch and to Pray". One child before touching the reliquary prayed for his family and friends out loud with his eyes tightly shut and opened his eyes to touch the reliquary.  There was no way to doubt the movement of the Spirit, even in the lives of the youngest among us.
Here is a photo of Fray Javier, Teacher Kary, and Fray Luciano with the preschool students.
Last but not least is a close-up photo of Frays Javier and Luciano.  These are the trooper friars who went everywhere the relics went as guides and testaments to the Life of St. Anthony.  Day after day the same story and the same jobs, but all for the Glory of God!  I am grateful to have met them and wish them all the best as their journey of preaching the Gospel through the example to St. Anthony continues...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

FrancisCorps House Blessing and Where's FrancisCorps?

On September 9th the friars and friends of FrancisCorps gathered to bless the house of FrancisCorps 12. Below is a photo of everyone that is was present.
Here is the list of everyone in this photo (L-R): 
First Row: Fray Walter, Jordan, Alvero, Mateo, Brittany, Marta, and Yami. Second Row: Kelli, Fray Jorge, Me, Fray Francisco, Fray Jim, Jelly, and Tom. Not Pictured: David who was taking the photo
Above is a photo of people who were gathered for the House Blessing and oddly there was a group of us who were all wearing the color blue.  (L-R) Jordan, David, Me, Fray Jorge, Jelly and Tom. 

Now we are going to play a game....
Where's FrancisCorps?
There are seven people hidden in this picture. Can you find them?  
Below is a close up of everyone if you can't!

1) Mateo....our very own Filipino scarecrow, but way cooler than the one in the Wizard of Oz.

2) Tom preparing for his stigmata. (Si Dios quiere)

3) Kelli chillin' like ice cream fillin'!

4) Jordan....can you hear the bells?

5) Brittany...ready to go Under the Sea with the fish! 

6) Jelly spread out on the hammock like Jelly on toast.

7) Can you find the seventh person?...That person is actually is invisible!  

It is me, the one taking the picture!
Have a great day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Relics of St. Anthony Part 2...A Close-up of the Relics

As you all know we have had the Relics of St. Anthony with us in Costa Rica since September 2nd.  Here is a close-up of the Relics.

Below is the small reliquary upon the altar in San Antonio de Belen parish. This reliquary contains a piece of the rib of Antonio.
A close-up of the reliquary.
A close-up of the rib.

Below is the big reliquary that has relics in the bust of St. Anthony holding the child Jesus in San Antonio de Belen parish. This reliquary contains pieces of heart tissue, organs, and skin of St. Anthony.
A close-up of the bust.
A close-up of the heads of St. Antony and Jesus.
A close-up of the relics.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

189 Aniversario de la Independencia de Costa Rica

On September 15, Costa Rica celebrated 189 years of Independence from Spain! But there are four other countries that celebrate their independence from Spain on that day too: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The festivities for this day began weeks in advance with decorating the school, making of faroles (lanterns), and band, singing and dance practices.

The celebration began in the friary on Sunday, September 12.  We had the Francis Corps volunteers over for their first Sunday meal on their own.  I was making a cake and since I new that the Independence Day was coming up I made a Blue, White, and Red cake.

Here is what the cake looks like before cutting. The blue writing is vanilla icing with blue food dye and the white icing is cream cheese flavored.
Here is a photo of the cake with a red inside. It was a french vanilla cake mix with like 40 drops of red dye.

The celebrations officially began at the school on Monday, September 13, with the Inauguration of Civic Week.  We had an assembly in the school gym with lots of various activities including: procession of the National Flag and School banner, singing of the National Anthem, praying, show by the second graders, singing and playing of music by select students, typical Costa Rican dances, more singing, and the band playing.
Above is a photo of some 10th graders dancing.
Below is a photo of the Secondary School band.
Then the celebration continued on the Eve of Independence Day.  It is customary for schools all over Costa Rica to sing the National Anthem of Costa Rica at 6pm the day before Independence Day and to have a desfile de faroles (parade with lanterns). 
Here is photo of the Primary School Band preforming in the kiosk.
This is an example of a farole (lantern) that the children carry in the parade. Some of them were pretty elaborate. 
*This photo and the next four were taken by Mariela (one of the teachers).  Like me, she also has difficulty taking clear pictures at night, but I am grateful that she took them anyway.*
Myself and two other teachers - Mila and Illeana
Jordan and Mateo (2 of the FrancisCorps Volunteers) and I holding candles that are to be used to light the faroles of the children.  Mine made a mess of my habit!
During the parade the Primary School Band played the entire time and during various songs students from the Secondary School danced.  Here is a photo of some of the males dancing.
This is not a very clear or good photo, but I think it expresses the fun we had and the joy that is in our hearts!

On September 15, the actual day of Independence, it was pretty much a free day.  We were able to sleep in and enjoy the free day.  We did have a community meal for lunch and dinner which were both cooked by Fray Javier from Argentina.  They were both delicious!  For dinner he made pizzas and made one without gluten just for me.  We also celebrated the final day of the Relics of St. Anthony visiting us with a Mass in the evening.
Above is a picture of all of us eating lunch on the patio.  Beginning with the friar in the gray shirt on the left and going clockwise here are everyones' name: Luciano, Javier, Alvero, Walter, Victor, Nader, Francisco, and Jorge. Below is another photo of us at lunch, but now you can see the table decorations.

Día del Niño

On Thursday, September 9, Costa Rica celebrated Día del Niño.  It is a day to celebration children and there are no classes on that day.  Everyone gets to dress down on that day (no uniforms), play sports and games, watch a show, and eat pizza. Above photo is the decorations that 4C put on their chalk board.  

The next four photos are from the show that took place in the primary school gym.  There was a mime who was pretty funny and really captured the students's attention.  
Then a gymnast/person like from Cirque du Soleil came and did some cool acrobatics.
Below is a close-up of him hanging in the air by these two long pieces of red fabric.
Here is a close-up of the mime, his makeup was great for his role.
The photo below is to give you an idea of the number of students that are in the Primary School.
After the show it was time for pizza, here is a photo of the students rushing to the pizza tables.
The next montage of photos were obviously not taken by me because I am in them, but they were taken by Alicia one of the teachers.  As part of the day there were these wooden boards with characters on them who had no heads and the children had to throw plastic balls through the hole where the heads would have been. Some of the teachers wanted me to put my head through the hole, so I did.
Here is me in the caterpillar.

Then I put me head in so that just my hair was showing.
Then the art teacher who made the boards wanted me to stick my feet through the hole so I did.
Since I already had my feet propped up, I decided to enough the sunny weather for a bit.
After the caterpillar, I moved to the image of Browser from Super Mario Kart.  While there one of the children gave me a pink plastic ball to put in my mouth, the above photo is proof that this occurred.

Everyone had a lot of fun that day! The children also go to leave early on that day too.