Edna Abrams, Don Baldwin, Ron and Donna Connell, Roger and Miriam Devaney, John and Judey Dacquisto, Gary Franz, Fr. Tim Hays, Jerry and Clara Monks, Maureen O’Keefe, Susan O'Connor, Patt Perlman, Michael Phalen, Joan Samuel, Pat and Lisa Sharkey, Judy Shultz, Pauline and Craig Soehren, Jim Tate
Although many dioceses in the U.S. support many deserving projects, few enjoy the close, unique, and continuing relationship that the Diocese of Spokane has with the poorest of the poor. Thanks to the leadership of Bishop Bernard Topel in the late 1950s, the Diocese of Spokane entered into an agreement with the Diocese of Sololá in Guatemala, whereby Spokane offered to share spiritual, material, and human resources with the Diocese of Sololá.
The Mayan Indians in the Northern Guatemala are among the most impoverished people in the world. Oppressed by others for hundreds of years, these native peoples have been forced to eke out a living on the slopes of volcanic peaks at the 9,000-12,000 ft. elevation level. Many families live in one-room cornstalk huts with dirt floors and no water or electricity. With an inadequate food supply, malnutrition and disease are common problems.
We in Spokane provide support in a variety of ways. Father David Baronti, who has worked in Guatemala for 38 years, continues to serve the people in several communities. In addition, we support other pastoral services; such as, the religious education program and youth group in Ixtahuacan, as well as offering scholarships for students. At present, Sister Marie Tolle of the Sisters of Charity works with and trains catechists for a number of villages. Medical and health issues are served by our support of Dr. José Miguel (a native of the area) who trains local health promoters and work in clinics in Nahualá, Novillero, Ixtahuacán, and Chi Patan. A radio station, “Nawal Estereo,” provides educational and religious support. Our support also extends to a Catholic school, Colegio Nahuala, Our Lady of the Highway Preschool and the Seminary in Solola. Because of the longstanding relationship with Guatemala, our Guatemala Mission support goes directly to the poor and needy. Ongoing prayer and financial support are vital to the lives and welfare of these people.