When we looked through the door the place was packed. Large tarps were hung from the rooftops and shaded the courtyard. A Mayan altar was set up with flowers, candles and copal incense. Bishop Samuel Ruiz, Bishop Raul Vera and other dignitaries sat at a dais on the porticoed porch of the main dormitory. Rented blue chairs were set up facing the dais and seemingly hundreds of people, indigenous, foreigners and others occupied most of them.
After we had been there for a short time the group broke for a sit down lunch. Tables and chairs were moved to various points around the campus. Bud, Paula and I ended up sitting in the back, behind the dining hall, with a group of men from Las Abejas (The Bees.) They wore beribboned hats and traditional dress. We had chicken and rice with tortillas. We later learned that INESIN served lunch to 250 persons!
While the event was planned to honor Don Samuel, Don Raul, and others, it was in some ways a passing of the baton. The gist seemed to be to begin to institutionalize the movement that has been personally associated with Don Samuel. But no one lives forever. Bishop Ruiz had made gifts to CODIMUJ, INESIN, SIPAZ and one other group. They in turn identified grass roots workers in Indian Theology, The Bees, and a group in working with political prisoners for their liberationist work in Chiapas. Each of these grass roots groups received an award and a grant.
It was exciting to see the efforts at the formation of a movement. It was even more exciting to me to see INESIN right in the middle of things, using their wonderful facility to bring people of many backgrounds together for such an event, and illustrating their competence in hosting such a big celebration.