Nicaragua: José de la Jara and the Solentiname Connection

3

December
2014

MISA NICA

One of the principal figures in the founding of the Parish of Saint Paul the Apostle (Managua, Nicaragua)—Father José de la Jara—was also instrumental in the initiation of the Socratic tradition of discussing the Gospel at Solentiname under Ernesto Cardenal. Father De la Jara and members of his parish created the Misa Popular Nicaragüense (1968). So, when Carlos Mejía Godoy says that the Misa Campesina (1975) would not have existed without the already firmly established presence of the Misa Popular, he is indeed correct, yet it must be added that the celebrated Community of Solentiname itself may not have existed, as the world has come to recognize its historic presence as a living manifestation of Liberation Theology, if it had not been for the advice of Father De la Jara. It’s worth contemplating.

Explicaré cómo empezó ese comentario del «Evangelio en Solentiname». Llegó a Solentiname el Padre de la Jara un estupendo sacerdote español… y nos sugirió que el evangelio no lo predicara yo, sino que lo discutiera, que el pueblo lo comentara. Él lo había hecho en su parroquia de un barrio obrero de Managua. Yo le dije que creía que los campesinos, que son muy callados y muy introvertidos, no hablarían, y él me dijo que también los obreros eran introvertidos y en su parroquia comentaban extraordinariamente bien el evangelio… Y entonces por consejo de él, hice la prueba y desde el primer día la gente comenzó a comentar muy bien.

I will explain how that commentary of the “Gospel in Solentiname” began. Father De la Jara, an admirable Spanish priest, arrived in Solentiname and suggested to us that I should not preach the Gospel, but that it should be discussed, and the people should comment on it. He had done so in his own parish, a neighborhood of laborers in Managua. I told him that the peasants are too reserved and introverted, that they would not speak, and he responded that laborers were likewise introverted, yet they commented extraordinarily well in his parish… And because of his advice, I tried it out, and from the first day, people began to comment very well. (Ernesto Cardenal, “El Evangelio en Solentiname fue Obra del Pueblo,” 1987)

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