Thursday, March 10, 2011

Temozón Offers Modern Yucatecan Treasure


Front facade of new parish. Pre-fabricated cement prevents
swelling and cracking that would normally occur under
humidity and high temperatures.
As of recently, Cari Serafin and Marilyn Randolph (coordinators of the Mission of Friendship) and I had the pleasure of meeting with Father Alfredo Cirerol Ojeda, priest of Divina Misericordia Church and diocesan advisor to the Mission’s operations within the Yucatan Peninsula. The visit was twofold: one, to deliver communication from Saint Michael the Archangel Church (where Msgr. Jan Olowin, founder of the Mission of Friendship, is pastor) to the Parish of Divina Misericordia through the Sister Parish Program. Secondly, I hoped to meet such an important person to the Mission of Friendship, as Father Alfredo has remained a long-time friend and supporter of Mission initiatives since its founding.  In his excitement to meet with us and receive correspondence from close friend Msgr. Olowin and the parish, Father Alfredo invited us to see one of the Diocese’s newest endeavors: the parish of Temozón.

For those who might not be familiar with the geography of the Yucatan, Temozón Norte (teh-moh-SOHN) is a small town located 10 minutes north of Mérida with a small yet active population of inhabitants.  While Temozón affords its people common needs and small luxuries, however, the town has lacked a fully-functional chapel for some time.  As a response to this need, construction began in 2010 to erect a worship space after funds became available within the Catholic community of Divina Misericordia. 

Front doors, inside view. 
  While many who have visited Mérida will attest to the structural similarities of its colonial churches (stone or cement facades, ornate altar construction and statues placed throughout the space), the modern architecture of Temozón’s chapel summons an air of 21st century austerity; clean lines and abstract stained glass give the feeling of contemporary design while its simplicity allows worshippers to focus on personal prayer or the mass at hand. Further architectural details, including pre-fabricated cement, marble detailing and extensive ventilation, call to the heat of the Yucatan and allow the chapel to stay cool in relation to the daily temperatures.   

Front of chapel.  A glass wall allows light to enter while
providing parishioners the ability to appreciate outside
greenery.  Altar is of marble construction.

While construction on the church continues to near completion, Father Alfredo has already initiated weekly mass, with parish activity hoping to increase as construction finishes.  It was confirmed that work will also begin on pastoral housing for the attending priest once the main chapel is complete.
The Mission of Friendship would like to thank Father Alfredo Cirerol Ojeda for his continued work as diocesan advisor and his generosity in sharing with all of us yet another treasure of the Diocese of Mérida.

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