I am earning my hours this month! one more to go. Also I translated an interview  idid of JJ’s into English and now it will be published in the biggest Catholic Magazine in Germany.

Calle Giral was the only paved road in my neighborhood of  el Moro, in the small town of  Mantilla, and it extended from the Calzada of Managua to Avenida Dolores in Lawton. At one end, it crossed over the dirt roads that surrounded the urbanized area, and continued on between the different ranches, which abounded in that area, and which supplied fresh milk to the nearby Lucero Creamery, and meat to the slaughterhouse. Electricity, and  a water supply had recently been installed,  leaving behind the oil and kerosene  lamps and the artesian wells. The night which before was full of shadows had become bright.

There was a small wooden church on this street, two blocks from the Avenue, with tongue and grooved siding, a French tile roof sloped in two directions, and a large front garden, crossed by a concrete sidewalk that led from the street to the door of the temple. Here, each Saturday afternoon, we children attended catechism classes, wearing our best clothes. After the catechism, the priest, a cheerful young man, organized a children’s party with sweets, chocolates, cookies and soda, which lasted to about six in the afternoon. That was the �hook�t that was used to attract us and make us leave our games and idle hours. Strange as it might seem, we only went to this Church on Saturday

For Sunday Mass, we went to the masonry church, which was more airy, and I think it is still there, on Route 4 Perhaps because this Church was more remote, and represented more of a journey, the outing included a snack in the neighborhood cafeteria, and then concluded with visits to acquaintances who lived nearby. Almost all of every Sunday morning was dedicated to these matters, and the afternoons were reserved for the movies, or a circus or amusement park, according to the time of year and what was being offered nearby

Towards the end of the forties, a Baptist Church was built at a street corner near my house, with a long nave, high brick walls, a tin roof that sloped in two directions, with many windows. We never attended this Church, because like our neighbors we professed the Catholic religion, although we were not very observant. There were others who were spiritualists, although with Catholic roots.

There were processions on the festival days at both Catholic  Churches, made up of most of the people in our small town, both adults and children, singing hymns. Some people argued over the honor of carrying on their shoulders the images, or the lighted candles and banners. The highlight of the year was the day of the Virgin of Charity, the largest and most important and most colorful procession. This procession traveled almost all the main streets of the neighborhood. Holy Week and Christmas were also very important, full of activities, including the delivery of the blessed palm branches in the first, and the cr�ches of the second.

These were the churches that I remember from the neighborhood of Mantilla, and outside of my house, this is where my first memories of the Catholic religion were recorded, in between much laughing and games, some fights and first crushes.

Fernando Damaso