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

Guatemala Mission staffers to speak in Spokane

by Jerry Monks, for the Inland Register

(From the March 13, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

For over 50 years, the Dioceses of Spokane, Washington and Sololá, Guatemala, have shared a unique covenant relationship. Eight priests from Spokane have served the Highlands area since the Sister Diocese program was inaugurated in 1960, and countless other Religious and lay personnel have traveled to the Spokane mission to give of their time and talents.

Right: Adela Tambriz

When people from Spokane visit the mission in Guatemala, hundreds of native people come out to welcome them and thank them for the help they receive from the parishes and people of our diocese. Huge numbers lined the pathways during the recent 50th anniversary celebration.

The Spokane–Sololá covenant has enhanced the lives of thousands of native people over the past five decades. Lives have been transformed from conditions of despair and dependency to hope and self-sufficiency. Much remains to be done, but the groundwork and foundation is well in place.

Mission dwellers in Guatemala welcome visitors from Spokane in a way much different than what might be looked upon as a rich versus poor relationship. A real bond develops when a family in Guatemala knows that individuals and families care enough about them to extend a helping hand. This appreciation shows on the faces of the Mayan people as they extend their welcome to visitors from the Spokane Diocese. It was expressed well by one of the Mayan natives years ago when he made a talk at a local celebration.

Right: Natalia de Leon

Martin began his speech by saying that the food and drink were not much, but it was the best they could afford and they appreciated the opportunity to share them with their visitors. Then he spoke of the strong and common bond between the families in the north (U.S.) and those there in the Highlands. He said, “We are families in a partnership working for a better life, benefiting from the relationship we share with each other.”

Two of the Guatemalan women most directly involved in managing the economic development projects in the mission area will be visiting Spokane from April 14-23. Natalia de Leon lends her managerial expertise to many of the financial and organizational activities in the mission area. Adela Tambriz is the on-site manager for the Family-To-Family self-development projects. These range from sewing, cooking, and carpentry to agricultural and numerous reforestation programs. Their work with their native people has been recognized both nationally, by the President of Guatemala, as well as internationally.

Natalia and Adela will visit several parishes to thank parishioners for their support during their short stay. They will also discuss some of their programs and be available for questions during a special potluck dinner meeting at St. Thomas More Parish on the evening of Thursday, April 19. Activities will begin at 6 p.m. Anyone interested in learning more about the Spokane Diocese programs in Guatemala and thanking these women for their service is welcome to attend. Please RSVP to (509) 924-1346 or (509) 466-3995. Salads and/or desserts will be appreciated.

(IR photos courtesy of the Guatemala Commission)

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