Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ramón Pané – América’s First Catechist

The Ramón Pané Foundation takes its name from one of the greatest figures in America’s Evangelization. Ramón Pané was a Brother of the order of St. Jerome originally from Catalunia, that arrives as part of the contingent that accompanied Columbus in his second voyage in 1494.

He is present at the First Mass celebrated at La Isabela on the Feast day of Kings in 1494. He is a curious and observant in what he experiences. He arrives in a place where the natives appeared to be all equal, but these were in constant evolution and spoke diverse dialects, had different cultures, beliefs, and local habits. Outside of our speculation, this was the situation that Fray Ramón Pané had to adapt too.

Christopher Columbus puts him in charge by of gathering the “oral antiquities” of the natives.

Ramón Pané gathers, for us as well, information about the mythological beliefs and religious ceremonias of the Taino people, their habits and the sense of many of the words of their language. All of the descriptions of his Works are characterized by his religious interests: illnesses, medical care, medication, food, the sea, the dead, myths and beliefs.

With regard to his work as a Catechist, he is the one that brings about the “coexistence.” He learns at least two languages, that of the Macorix territory and that of the Taino people, doing this while living among the natives. First with the Macorix for about two months; then for almost two years with Guarionex, a Taino chief (Cacique); and finally with Mabiatue, another Cacique, for three years.

This is one of great feats: to integrate himself to the native communities through the knowledge of their language, communicating with them, understanding their reality, their cultural world and, at the same time, allow them to know him and to catechize. Thus, he was the first missionary in american soil.

He considers all natives to be human beings and it is impossible to find in his Works any derogatory or discriminatory terms used toward them. He proposes a voluntary acceptance of the faith. Perhaps as a layman he wasn’t as knowledgeable, but he had great experience in evangelical principles. In fact, he was a very peaceful catechizer.

This is why, in honor and memory of Ramón Pané, first catechizer and evangelist, this Foundation was created in his name in 1994.

WE ARE AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF CATHOLICS, that truly believe in the GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and in the ROMAN CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH, guided by the Successor of Peter and the Apostles (the Pope and our legitimate Bishops), and that we must put in the languages of the different cultures the One Gospel, the One Good News, through all the different means available. We use the current media, especially the internet and the arts (music, painting, graffity, theatre, dance, computer assisted designs, websites, and apps). We sponsor Lectio Divina workshops and support the spirituality of those who evangelize.

We desire to help each and every Diocesis, Espiscopal Conference, Catholic Ecclesial Movements, in their catechetical, missionary, and spiritual formation.

We are also a PUBLIC ASSOCIATION OF FAITHFUL, in accordance with the Catholic Church’s Canon Law. And all those that are interested in evangelizing through this institution may become part of it.

We have our headquarters at the Archdiocesis of Tegucigalpa, Hondures, and the President General is Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., and also a working office in the Archdiocesis of Miami, United States, where Brother Ricardo Grzona,frp presides.

If you desire more information about our mission and work you may contact us at: presidencia@fundacionpane.org