Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

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

Guatemala Religious Education Program grows to 314 children

by Donna Connell, for the Inland Register

(From the February 21, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

Children of Ixtahuacán, Guatemala, participate in faith formation activities. The program has seen remarkable growth in recent days. (IR photo courtesy of the Guatemala Commission)

Has your religious education program doubled in size? That is just what has happened with the Religious Education Program in Ixtahuacán, Guatemala. After only a few months, the number of children grew from 150 to over 314.

The Parish Council of Ixtahuacán, headed by Alejandro Miguel Raxuleu, planned and implemented this new program in February 2012, under the advisement of the pastor, Father David Baronti, a priest of the Spokane Diocese who serves in the Guatemala mission. Through the donations of churches and individuals, the Spokane Diocese has been able to partially fund this program, unique for the area.

In November, Raxuleu reported that “the children have participated with great enthusiasm and spirit, and at the same time, the number of participants continues to grow.” He said that the principal objective of the classes, held every two weeks, is advancing their Catholic formation. In addition, they include some aspects of social, health, and nutrition education. They also commemorate various religious days on the liturgical calendar so that children become more aware of the devotion to the saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is obviously a very successful and worthwhile program!

The Marian Center in Ixtahuacán was the meeting place for this program initially; however, it has outgrown the space available. When the weather is conducive, they have groups of children meeting outside. The Parish Council is now looking at remodeling another building, which could be used for multiple parish needs. They estimate the cost of remodel to be around $17,500, and are seeking donations.

In addition, the Parish Council has visited some of the families in the outlying small communities surrounding the town of Ixtahuacán and report, “It is very sad to see the means in which they live. Some houses are made of worn out sheets or plates and these leak … poverty persists. These communities overwhelm us with their situation and truly leave us without words.” They were thankful that there were no deaths from the November earthquake; however there were a large number of homes broken down and damaged.

The Ixtahuacán Parish Council would like to thank all who have helped by donations for the Religious Education program. They have sent financial reports and photos of children participating.

For more information or further report, please call Ron or Donna Connell, (509) 924-1346. Anyone interested in donating to this powerful program, please send donations to: Guatemala Mission, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane, WA 99210-1453.

Earthquake Relief Fund News: Thanks to all who have donated to help victims of the November earthquake. Donations presently total $9,640. Father Baronti and others have reported that while many adobe homes were destroyed in the Ixtuhaucán area, there was no loss of life. Adela Tambríz, on-site director for Family to Family, has been collecting data on specific families of the area who are most affected. Some may receive government assistance, so she is taking that into account. More information will be forthcoming.

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