Songs of the Divine Liturgy in Spanish / Himnos de la Divina Liturgia en Español

The Orthodox Church continues to grow in Guatemala, and one of the areas of progress is chuch music. A beautiful youth choir has formed at the Church of the Annunciation in Aguacate, Guatemala, where the people now sing the entire Divine Liturgy. There also is an excellent choir at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Tajumuco, Guatemala, and in the coastal areas of Guatemala the priests are teaching music as well. You can hear all of the major songs of the Divine Liturgy in Spanish here on this page. Click on any of the “download” links to download the original audio file to your computer.
La Iglesia Ortodoxa sigue creciendo en Guatemala, y uno de los progresos principales es la música eclesiástica. Un buen coro de jóvenes se ha formado en la Parroquia de la Anunciación en Aguacate, Guatemala, donde la gente ahora canta toda la Divina Liturgia. También hay un coro excelente en la Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro en Tajumuco, Guatemala, y en las parroquias de la Costa Sur los sacerdotes están enseñando la música eclesiastica. Puedes escuchar todos los himnos principales de la Divina Liturgia en Español en esta página. Haz clic en el botón “Download” en cualquier canción para descargar el archivo original de ese himno.

The choir in Aguacate, Guatemala /// El Coro en Aguacate, Guatemala

Songs of the Liturgy / Los Himnos de la Liturgia

Fr. Antonio Passes Away in Guatemala

Fr. Antonio's funeral procession

On the feast of the Twelve Apostles (June 30th), we hear that the people around Jesus were “helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” These words echo in my mind after the death of Fr. Antonio Patá Tuctuc on June 20th, at just 42 years old. Last year the people of Guatemala lost Fr. Andrés Girón, their beloved spiritual father, and only one year later they have lost yet another father in the faith. The struggle of Christ's flock in Guatemala is painful to watch.

During the funeral of Fr. Antonio, a teenager grasped me and cried into my shoulder. A woman collapsed on the floor, wailing, “Fr. Andres left us and now Fr. Antonio too!” An older man took off his shoes and placed them into the tomb. “I want Father to have these,” he told me with tears. “When he is resurrected, he will walk with my shoes.”

Saying final farewells

How can we stand with these people who feel “helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”? To fully answer their needs, the Orthodox Church will have to send more missionaries and more support in the coming years. This is a pressing need that must spur us to action. Yet, at the same time, the Orthodox Church is already making a powerful beginning. I want you to find courage in this assurance: the people are feeling your presence even now in the midst of their groaning and tears.

Preaching during Fr. Antonio's wake

During my sermon at Fr. Antonio's wake, I told the people “you are not alone” and explained that thousands of people are praying for them across the world. Later, as I took photos of the funeral, I overheard someone whisper, “I wonder if the people abroad will see that photo.” Right there, in the midst of their grieving, the people were beginning to feel their bond with everyone in the whole Church. You truly were in our midst, and that is powerful.

So, despite this great loss, God is helping us to push forward. God has used all of you in the broader Orthodox Church to encourage his flock in Guatemala. Please continue with us! We will need your prayers and support more than ever in the coming months. May the memory of Fr. Antonio be eternal, and may Christ have mercy on us all!

February Update from Jesse

Dear friends and family,

I hope you're staying warm! My sympathies to everyone in New England as you trudge through a winter apocalypse! This month will be news-oriented with updates about Guatemala and about myself. There's a lot to share!

Guatemala News

Last November, priests from Guatemala met with Metropolitan Athenagoras in Mexico City (see photo). They developed a strategic plan for Guatemala, including three goals: (1) enable Fr. Fernando to succeed Fr. Andrés as leader in Guatemala by sending him abroad to study theology, (2) identify potential deacons and priests in the Guatemalan villages and train them on-site, (3) complete the medical clinic in Aguacate and develop a strategy for ongoing healthcare.

In January, Fr. John Chakos and Pres. Sandy returned to Guatemala with a small mission team to assist in Aguacate. Almost 1,000 people gathered for a marathon service with 6 weddings and 13 baptisms (read more on their blog).

February 16 was the one-year anniversary of the death of Fr. Andrés Girón, the leader and advocate of these Mayan villages. The people held large memorial services and eulogies.

This coming summer, two mission teams will travel to Guatemala. You can volunteer for one through OCMC.

Personal News

90% funded: That's right, I'm in the home stretch! It's thrilling to see my team coming together. Thank you, everyone!

Purchased my plane ticket: I now have a departure date! On April 21st, I will fly from Miami to Guatemala City.

More parish visits in February and March: I can't leave until I'm 100% funded, so I will be traveling in New England and New York to seek more monthly supporters. See pictures from my recent visits on my Facebook page.

Ways to Help

Prayer requests: Please pray for personal peace as I begin saying goodbye to family and friends. Also pray for healing from wrist pain (a result of all the driving, typing, and writing).

Donate supplies: I am gathering supplies for my move on April 21st, and there are several items that you could donate (email me at to donate something):

  • A Kindle e-reader
  • E-book versions of theological writings
  • Logos Bible Software
  • A used Macbook for a backup computer
  • Large, lightweight suitcases
  • New or used cassock
  • Liturgical supplies for the churches in Guatemala (chalices, censers, and blessing crosses)

Become a monthly supporter: I still need more monthly pledges before I can leave in April. Make a pledge of any amount (e.g., $25 per month) using my online support page.

Final Word

Standing with Fr. Andrés in 2012. May his memory be eternal!

Standing with Fr. Andrés in 2012. May his memory be eternal!

I can't tell you how much I miss Fr. Andrés as we mark the one-year anniversary of his death (Feb 16). I got to know this great man as a father. Imagine driving in a car with Martin Luther King, Jr., or having tea with Mahatma Gandhi. I look to Fr. Andrés with the same degree of love and admiration. 

During one car ride in 2012, Fr. Andrés stopped at a small store and walked inside with me. He walked carefully, holding my arm because of his increasing weakness. Suddenly he stopped, stared into my eyes, and said, "do you see this cassock, Jesse? This doesn't make me a priest! The people in the villages made me a priest. Always remember that!" Then we continued into the store to buy coffee and food, and his words lingered in the air. I never forgot those spontaneous, prophetic moments; the words of Fr. Andrés linger in the room where I sit and type, they permeate the churches where his people pray, and they flow through the mountain air of Guatemala where thousands of people still look to this man as a father.

Now, as I prepare to move on April 21st, I ask Fr. Andrés to pray for me and to beg God that I will serve his people faithfully. I try to honor his words from that car ride by remembering that the villages made me a missionary. Not only that, but all of you are making me a missionary each day through your prayers and support. Join me today in prayer, as we remember Fr. Andrés Girón and the villages that love him dearly.

In Christ,

Listen to "Mayan Orthodoxy," a Recorded Lecture

On May 18th, I delivered a public lecture at St. Vladimir's Seminary on the growth of Mayan Orthodoxy in Guatemala. The lecture focused on the rich, volcanic soil of Guatemala as the key to understanding the history and culture of the country. The fertile soil has made some Guatemalans rich because of abundant crops, but it also has divided the country and contributed to decades of civil war, bloodshed, and poverty among the indigenous populations. This "story of the soil" is also the key to understanding why thousands of indigenous people converted to the Orthodox Church under the leadership of Fr. Andrés Girón. The lecture described the future challenges that face this movement to Orthodoxy, and it concluded by urging the broader Orthodox Church to help the seed of Orthodoxy take root in the soil of Guatemala. By by supporting the missionaries who are working in Guatemala, the broader Orthodox Church will help the seed of Orthodoxy grow. When this seed grows into a strong, Mayan Orthodox Church, then God will show all of us "the joy of the harvest, which is so great."

To support Jesse through a monthly contribution,     click here  . Even $5/month (a few coffees) will have a tremendous impact over Jesse's two year term of service.

To support Jesse through a monthly contribution, click here. Even $5/month (a few coffees) will have a tremendous impact over Jesse's two year term of service.

The lecture was recorded for "Voices from St. Vladimir's Seminary" on Ancient Faith Radio.  You can listen to the full lecture in the audio player below, or download the audio file here.

Returning to Guatemala long-term, by God's grace and your love

Dear friends, near and far:

I'm about to take a big step in my life, and I'm really excited to share this with you. On March 14th, I was officially approved by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center as a long-term missionary candidate to Guatemala. As many of you know, this has been a long time in the making.

With three of the Guatemalan priests during a trip to Tziscao, Mexico, in June 2012

I first traveled to Guatemala as a short-term missionary in 2009 and then returned in 2012 for an entire summer. During that summer, I fell in love with the Mayan people who have come into the Orthodox Church: their resilience, humility, and beauty. These people are begging for teachers and missionaries who can guide them as they grow in their newfound faith. Since 2012, I have been praying to God about moving to Guatemala to help answer their need.

Now, after almost two years of further discernment and evaluation by OCMC, I am ready to take the plunge! I am officially a missionary candidate, and I'm already beginning to travel to parishes to raise a team of regular, monthly supporters who will enable me to get to the field. Even though I'll be traveling to raise support, I still plan to continue my current work (hospital chaplaincy) through August. At that point, my full-time support raising will begin. I have to raise all my own funds, so it will be a long process, but my hope is to move to Guatemala in the first part of 2015.

With two other Guatemalan priests and Fr. John Chakos (second to right), the missionary team leader

Because this is an exciting step for me, I wanted to share the news with all of you. Thank you so much for your love throughout the years, and for all of your support as friends, family, and mentors. If you would like to follow my steps as a missionary, you can like my support team page on Facebook or you can follow my new blog right here on Mayan Orthodoxy. To subscribe this blog by email, click here.

Again, thank you so much for your love and friendship. I never could have come this far without you, and I still can do nothing except by God's grace and your love. Please pray for me as I begin this new journey.

With love,