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

Support needed for mission religious education program

Story and photo by Donna Connell, for the Inland Register

(From the March 15, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

Financial support for religious education is a priority for the mission in Guatemala. (IR photo)

What do you expect of religious education for your elementary school children? In Ixtahuacán, Guatemala, the parish council would like to improve the religious education program for their children; however, they need our help.

For most children in our Guatemala mission, most religious education only consists of sacramental preparation for First Eucharist, Reconciliation and Confirmation, and attending Mass and prayer services with their families. There are no other regularly scheduled classes.

The parish council in Ixtahuacán, led by Alejandro Miguel Raxuleu, would like to change that. They presented their plan to us during our recent trip to the mission. It includes a detailed plan of instruction, itemizing costs for 150 children ages 5–15 years old in Ixtahuacán. Classes would meet every 15 days.

Included in the plan are Bibles, rosaries, food, blackboard, music, piñatas, honorarium for teachers, and supplies such as markers, crayons, and paper. They also are asking for transportation costs for a one day retreat which the Diocese of Sololá expects the children to attend. The total cost of the program is $506 per month.

We are looking for a parish or individuals who can sponsor this program – perhaps all or part of it. Families in Ixtahuacán are poorer than families in other towns in the Highlands, and cannot afford to pay the entire cost of this plan.

The Youth Program (high school age), in the same village of Ixtahuacán, needs additional funds as well, although St. Joseph Parish in Colbert sponsors some of their activities already. Manuel Jesus, the youth group leader, reported that a youth gathering is scheduled for April 1 in Santiago which will cost about $900 for buses for the 80 youth of the parish. The diocese also expects the youth from several villages to gather on four other occasions for one-day retreats, which will cost about $156 for each meeting.

These youth gatherings are especially important for the young people of Ixtahuacán. Father Baronti has said that it is essential to keep the youth groups active and involved, given the increasing threat of drugs and gangs in the area.

(Donna Connell chairs the diocese’s Guatemala Commission. To help with either of these projects, or for more information, contact Connell at 509-924-1346 or via email to, or send donations to: Guatemala Mission, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane, Wa. 99210-1453. Please include a note about how you would like your donation to be used.)

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