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


Presentations explain Guatemala mission activity to Pullman parishioners

the Inland Register

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

Religious education classes at Sacred Heart Parish, Pullman, heard presentations recently about the Spokane Diocese’s mission activity in Guatemala. Pictured, clockwise from the lower left corner, are Kurtis Johnston, Kevin Johnston, Ann Heath, Rhoda Rimando, Elizabeth Heath, Suellen Rice, and Elle Thomas. (IR photo courtesy of the Guatemala Commission)

Religious education classes at Sacred Heart Parish, Pullman, recently learned about the Spokane Diocese’s Guatemala Mission as Ron and Donna Connell, of the diocesan Guatemala Commission, visited classes with pictures and information.

The Connells also talked about the mission to parishioners during the coffee hour between Masses prior to talking to the students.

The Connells’ presentation highlighted the fact that poverty is a persistent problem in Guatemala, particularly among the country’s indigenous groups. Even though great strides have been made since the Spokane Diocese began ministering in the Diocese of Sololá, Guatemala, the distribution of income remains highly unequal, with the richest 20 percent of the population accounting for more than 51 percent of Guatemala’s overall consumption.

According to the February 2013 edition of the CIA World Factbook, “Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up 38 percent of the population, averages 73 percent and extreme poverty rises to 28 percent. Nearly one-half of Guatemala’s children under age five are chronically malnourished, one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.”

The Connells’ presentation included photos of the various programs – educational, medical, religious, and economic – supported by the Spokane diocese, including the Radio station “Nawal Estereo,” which Pullman’s Sacred Heart Parish has supported for over 40 years.

Fifty-one years ago, Father John Rompa, a Spokane Diocese priest and Guatemala missionary, founded a religious and education radio station in the mission village of Nahualá. The “Voice of Nahualá,” as it was called, opened up communication in remote areas by broadcasting religious, educational, musical, and current news to over 1.5 million people in the indigenous languages of K’iche’ and Kaqchikel.

Today the radio station, now known as Nawal Estereo 93.1, is staffed by 10 local men and women and broadcasts 18 hours each day. In order to reach the very remote areas of the Highlands in Sololá, radio personnel use pickup trucks to carry equipment and staff to broadcast such events as fiestas, prayer meetings, processions, and other special activities from these remote areas. There is one transmitting tower 20 kilometers outside of Nahualá in the mountains, and another tower at the radio station itself.

For more information about the station, visit the web site: www.nawalestereo.com

The internet also allows listening to the station live as it broadcasts: www.tunein.com/radio/Nawal-Estéreo-931-s143827.

Teams from the Guatemala Commission, including the Connells, are available for presentations about the mission for parish groups or classrooms. Contact Donna Connell by email at rdconnell@comcast.net or by calling (509) 924-1346.)

(Additional information about the Guatemala Mission and other programs can be found at the mission’s web site: http://www.dioceseofspokane.org/guatemala.php. More information about Guatemala from the CIA Factbook can be found online at http://www.theodora.com/wfbcurrent/guatemala/guatemala_economy.html)


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