A man in ropa tipica plays a traditional flute as the ceremony began.
The Bishop of Sololá and other dignitaries attended the celebration as a way of further honouring the accomplishments of Fr. Greg. Here they lead the procession from the shores of Lake Atitlán to the Parish.
The whole community was invited to celebrate a special mass prior to the ceremony. This mass was led by Fr Greg, Fr John Goggin, and the Bishop, pictured here.
The people of San Lucas were very proud of the award and that the honour was bestowed at the Parish. Many community members were excited to be a part of this historic ceremony. Here, a special choir from the Parish’s school sang during mass.
True to Father Greg’s nature he endured the celebration of himself with great humility. Father Greg repeatedly acknowledged the incredible work and dedication of those around him; he accepted the award for the whole community, not just for himself.
President Berger was present to speak and present the award to Father Greg. For the first time in history this award was presented in a place outside of the National Palace, it was a gesture meant to emphasize the importance of the people as well as individual efforts.
One member of the community said the ceremony took place in San Lucas because “here is where the humanity is”. Father Greg would agree that without out the work of everyone together, development is not possible.
The award given to Father Greg represented the incredible work of the community and the parish. It is truly significant that the Guatemalan government would recognize the incredible work coming from this small town in rural Guatemala.
However Fr. Greg may protest out of humility, this award does indeed represent a life of dedication, love, and hard work in this community – something we are all grateful for.
Demonstrating their admiration for Father Greg, the people of San Lucas petitioned the government for four years to get Father Greg in the running to be given this award. They were perhaps happier than the Father himself on this day.
President Berger was president from 2004-2008, serving one four year term. This was one of the last acts of his presidency.
At the end of his speech Father Greg used an important phrase to Guatemalans, “juntos podemos,” together we can. It summarizes Father Greg’s approach to development: one, two, or three cannot do the work, but together we are capable of so much more.
The award now hangs in the library of the Parish. It is there as a testament to perseverance, cooperation, and hard work. To continue the work of the Parish, donate to our efforts.