Bolivian Road Trip Commemorates Diocese and Friar

Jim McIntosh, OFM Friar News

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — Five Holy Name Province friars and friar-alumni currently in Bolivia traveled 30 hours and 900 miles over three days to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Coroico diocese and to help a friar celebrate his birthday.

Steven DeWitt, OFM, and Daniel Horan, OFM, both of whom are currently studying Spanish at the Maryknoll Language Institute in Cochabamba, joined Ignacio Harding, OFM, Thomas Kornacki, OFM, and Jim McIntosh, OFM, for the journey.

The group first traveled July 25 to Coroico to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese there.

Pope John XXIII established Coroico as a prelature entrusted to Holy Name Province on Nov. 12, 1958. The first bishop was Thomas Manning, OFM.

One of Tom Manning’s main accomplishments was the establishment of a teachers college at Carmen Pampa and, with the help of Gavin Hanlon, OFM, a seminary at Sorata.  Gavin died there in 1999.

Coroico was established as a diocese in 1983. Tom Manning resigned as bishop in September 1996 and was replaced as bishop by the first graduate of the seminary to be ordained, Bishop Juan Vargas Aruquipa.

At the Mass celebrating 25 years as a diocese, Bishop Vargas presented a silver plaque to Holy Name Province thanking the friars of HNP for their years of service to the people of Noryungas, Bolivia. Steve and Dan plan to take this plaque back to New York and present it to Holy Name’s Provincial Minister, John O’Connor, OFM.

After the Mass and celebration, the five friars traveled across the Andes Mountains to La Espada seminary at Sorata. There, they helped William Keenan, OFM, celebrate his 81st birthday. Bill has been teaching seminarians of the Coroico diocese for 15 years.

Finally, the group returned to Cochabamba having both celebrated part of HNP’s history in Bolivia and, in the best spirit of fraternity, a friar’s birthday.

Editor’s Note: Various photos of the trip, the presentation ceremony, the plaque presented to HNP and the birthday celebration can be found here.