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

Despite economic woes, Guatemala Mission support remains steady

by Jerry Monks, for the Inland Register

(From the July 29, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

Jerry Monks (right) talks with Father David Baronti, a Spokane Diocese priest serving in Guatemala, last November. (IR photo by Deacon Eric Meisjord)

Although the Diocese of Spokane is in bankruptcy, and the U.S. is in recession, Eastern Washington parishioners have maintained their support for the poor in Guatemala.

During the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2010, contributions from parishes and individuals were sufficient to fund the FY 2009-10 budget of $60,000. As in previous years, the charitable donations came from about 17 percent of the more than 80 parishes of the Diocese.

Most significant help came from St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley ($13,976 for health programs), St. Patrick Parish, Pasco ($11,549 for support of the Sisters), St. Augustine, Spokane ($7,102 for Colegio Nahualá), and Assumption, Spokane ($5,000 for seminarians and the radio station).

The three parishes in Walla Walla (St. Patrick, St. Francis, and Assumption) joined in providing $2,250 for preschool/colegio education and $1,800 for the pastoral work of Sister Marie Tolle. Walla Walla also helped significantly by covering $1,750 in off-budget expenses for the Guatemala Youth Conference that was held on Palm Sunday in Chwi Patan.

St. Joseph, Colbert, began incorporating Guatemala Mission envelopes in their Sunday collection packets, generating $2,504 in support of Father David Baronti’s youth group, plus another $1,200 for the Ixtahuacán Marian Center. Sacred Heart Parish, Tekoa, contributed $156 toward the purchase of corn, and Holy Family Parish, Clarkston, added $36 in unrestricted funds.

Other parishes maintained their support for projects of long-standing interest to them.

Health programs were supported by the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes ($3,358) and St. Mary of the Rosary, Chewelah ($1,955). Sacred Heart Parish, Pullman, continued its help to the radio station in Nahualá ($3,236) and St. Patrick, Spokane, supported the seminarians in Sololá ($749). During his visit to Spokane in February 2009, Bishop de Villa of Sololá expressed his sincere thanks to St. Patrick parishioners for their devoted help to his seminarians.

In addition to the $60,000 in funds provided via the Guatemala Commission budget, two parishes of the diocese continued their management of individual programs to assist the Mayan Indians in the Spokane mission area. The programs range from support of an indigenous girls school, to weaving, trout, and reforestation projects. Participants in the 50th Anniversary pilgrimage to Guatemala were able to visit some of these projects last November.

Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Spokane, provided over $20,000 in support of educational and food assistance programs. In addition, the Family-To-Family (FTF) program channeled more than $100,000 into training, self-help, and other economic development projects. (Note: Although FTF operates out of St. Thomas More Parish, it has sponsors from throughout the diocese and the United States.)

The Guatemala mission also receives some individual contributions. Although they do not fund a large percentage of the budget, the donors are faithful and highly appreciated because the needs in Guatemala are extensive. Many individuals, and some parishes, have also channeled their mission support to other third-world countries.

In accordance with the official directory of the Diocese, the Guatemala Commission is in the process of seeking to expand participation in mission support. Insofar as Spokane and Sololá enjoy a “Sister Diocese” covenant relationship, the directory notes that all parishes of the Spokane Diocese are expected to contribute some assistance on a regular basis, even if it is a small monetary amount.

Parishes that wish to initiate a mission program are invited to contact the Guatemala Commission at P.O. Box 1453, Spokane, WA 99210, or phone Donna Connell at (509) 924-1346.

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

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