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

Colbert parishioners gather support for Guatemala religious education; one goal: a new building

Story and photos by Jim Tate, for the Inland Register

(From the August 15, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

“The principal objective of this educational program is based on Catholic teaching for the purpose of moral formation.”

– Alejandro Tum, parish leader of Santa Caterina de Ixtahuacán, Guatemala

Last summer I was one of eight parishioners from St. Joseph Parish, Colbert, who made a pilgrimage to Guatemala. With four members of our youth group, we made the voyage to support the youth in the village of Santa Caterina de Ixtahuacán. We brought donated medical supplies, infant clothing, and computers. We were received with tremendous kindness and hospitality. It was an unforgettable trip for our entire group, but especially for our youth and the youth of Ixtahuacán.

One day on our visit we were asked to meet with the parish leaders. We were presented with an impressive and comprehensive plan for expanding a new religious education (RE) program.

After only a few months, the new RE program is growing exponentially. The parish leaders view the program as vital for the poor children of the community. “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.”

The three focuses of the program are Christian foundation, health and nutrition, and intervention. Extreme poverty leads to poor nutrition and inadequate heath care in many families. The new program provides critical connection in the community while also providing Catholic spiritual formation.

Holding these dynamic leaders back is the lack of enough meeting space. Fortunately the parish owns a large building, but it needs extensive remodeling to be useful. Led by Alejandro Tum, the parish council estimates $7,500 will be needed to fix structural issues, replace windows, and finish the classrooms.

At St. Joseph Parish in Colbert we have raised $1,500 which we have sent to Father David Baronti, the Spokane Diocese priest who ministers in the Guatemala mission. The donation will begin the project.

Father Baronti has been in Guatemala for over 30 years. He will control funding of the project as construction proceeds.

This project needs your help. Please support the people of Santa Caterina de Ixtahuacán through your donation today.

(For more information please call Ron or Donna Connell at (509)924-1346. Anyone interested in donating to support Ixtahuacán’s Religious Education program please send donations to: Guatemala Mission, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane, WA 99210-1453.)

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