Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Over 1,600 gain improved eyesight from Guatemala Mission project

the Inland Register

(From the May 19, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Through the Guatemala Mission, more than 1,600 people were treated during a five-day vision clinic last February in New Ixtahuacán. (IR photo courtesy of Family-To-Family)

(Editor’s note: Miriam Devaney, director of the Family-To-Family program, received this letter from Sister Cecilia Harriendorf of the Sisters of Charity of New York, who is now working in Guatemala with another member of her Religious community, Sister Marie Tolle.)

For four-and-a-half glorious days in February, the Family-To-Family complex in Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán, Guatemala, hosted a “Vision Jornada,” bringing needed attention to the indigenous people of the Sololá and Quatezaltenago regions of Guatemala.

The “Jornada” (a Spanish word meaning a time of work and celebration) was sponsored by The Hope Alliance. Headquartered in Park City, Utah, this non-profit has been sponsoring Medical and Vision trips world-wide since 1999.

It was a member of the internationally known Lions Club in Xela who approached Family-To-Family representative Adela Tambriz about the possible use of our clinic and complex. She and Dr. José Miguel were delighted to be a part of such an important activity, and our radio station in Nahaulá advertised the event. Additionally, Sisters of Charity Marie Tolle and Ceil Harriendorf were on hand to welcome the volunteers, provide translations, and visit with patients waiting to be seen.

The Eye Team consisted of 21 individuals: two eye doctors, volunteers who have been trained to conduct basic eye examinations, individuals to record patient information on computer, and support staff.

At the conclusion of their work week, the Vision Team had seen 1,605 patients, distributed over 2,000 pairs of recycled eyeglasses, and identified over 100 candidates for cataract surgery. According to The Hope Alliance, “Everyone loved the Santa Catarina Community … (we) look forward to many more Jornadas in Guatemala.” So do we!

The Catholic Diocese of Spokane has supported the people of Guatemala for over 50 years. Our efforts rarely make headlines, but they always make a significant difference in the lives of the people we have been privileged to serve.

If we haven’t said it lately - thank you. And on behalf of the many Guatemalans who are seeing things a lot clearer because Family-To-Family was in the right spot, at the right moment – gracias y muchas benediciones (“thanks, and many blessings”).


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