Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Eastern Washington parishes boost support for Guatemala Mission

by Jerry Monks, for the Inland Register

(From the July 31, 2008 edition of the Inland Register)

Mayan Indian students take a break at the Colegio Nahualá. Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Spokane, helped establish support for the mission school in the late 1960s by sending a school bus to Guatemala and beginning a scholarship program for interested students. The Colegio currently receives major assistance from St. Augustine parishioners in Spokane, as well as help from students at Cataldo School in Spokane and Assumption School in Walla Walla. (IR photo courtesy of the Guatemala Commission)

As gas, food, and other costs rise at an alarming rate, one might think that people would be less willing to donate their limited funds to the poor. However, that is not the case – at least, not for Diocese of Spokane parishioners, who have a record of supporting the missionary activities among the Mayan Indians in Guatemala.

In past years, reduced contributions of parishes have necessitated a series of budget reductions. Income for the 2007-08 fiscal year, ending June 30, 2008, however, exceeded budgeted expenses. Much of the success has been attributed to a fund drive. Donations of $64,552 have permitted the full funding of all budgeted activities through June 30, plus some additional support in needy areas.

Parishes that have consistently been major supporters of the Guatemala Mission continued their efforts.

St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley ($12,316) and St. Patrick Parish, Pasco ($10,764) led the way with their assistance for the health programs and Sister’s compensation, respectively.

With nearly $6,000 in donations, St. Augustine continued its longstanding assistance to the Colegio in Nahualá. The Colegio also received $1,500 in aid from the children at Cataldo School, Spokane, and $400 from the third grade class at Assumption School, Walla Walla, both of which plan to carry on that aid to the current year. With expectations of increased income, the 2008-09 budget for the Colegio has been increased.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Spokane, took a significant step in increasing their support. The aid from Assumption parishioners ($8,000) helped to overcome what would have been budget deficiencies in “The Voice of Nahualá” radio station, seminarian education, and the Ixtahuacán Center.

The three Walla Walla parishes increased their support:

• St. Patrick reaffirmed its assistance with a gift of over $3,000 for compensation for the Sisters of Charity working in the Spokane Mission.
• Over $1,600 in contributions from Assumption Parish was directed into pastoral activities.
• Earlier this year, St. Patrick and Assumption Parishes joined with St. Francis in a coordinated support plan for future pastoral and educational aid to the mission. The 2008-09 budget reflects this new program.

Health programs benefitted from donations of nearly $4,800 from parishioners at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes and over $2,000 from Chewelah’s St. Mary of the Rosary Parish. Given this support, the 2008-09 budget for health programs has been increased by $600.

In past years, reduced income has forced repeated cuts in the financial aid provided for seminary students in Sololá, Guatemala. Nevertheless, during that time, St. Patrick Parish, Spokane, continued its long-standing support. This past year, St. Patrick’s donations of over $1,000 were augmented by a much-needed additional $1,000 from the Altar Society of St. Paul Parish, Eltopia.

Sacred Heart Parish, Pullman, continued its support for “The Voice of Nahualá” radio station. In addition, two new parishes initiated help for School and Youth Programs: St. Joseph Parish, Colbert, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, St. John, were both welcomed as participants in the Spokane Diocese missionary activities. Our Lady of Fatima and St. Thomas More parishes in Spokane also supported missionary activities via direct sponsorship programs.

Parishes or individuals that wish to become involved with the mission in Guatemala are asked to contact Donna Connell, Chair of the Guatemala Commission, at (509) 924-1346, or go to and click on the Guatemala Mission link.

(Jerry Monks is a long-time member of the diocese’s Guatemala Commission.)

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