and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe
all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always
until the end of the age.
~ Matthew 28:19-20
As Christians we believe that we are one body in Christ. If one part of the body is suffering, all parts of the body are suffering. As a member of that body, we are called every day to help and heal our brothers and sisters. God has given each of us special blessings, gifts, and abilities. Our gifts differ among each of us: some are blessed with the gift of healing, some with the gift of teaching, some with the gift of spiritual guidance, but all are blessed with the love of God in our hearts. There are many ways we can share these gifts and God’s love with our brothers and sisters in San Jose.
As the body of Christ, we are also called to be His hands and feet. Our hands and feet are made for action, to reach out and help each other and go to those in need. We can take action by folding our hands and praying for the people of San Jose, by reaching out our hands and provide for the needs of the village, and by stepping out and proceeding to San Jose to build a relationship with His people. Each of us is called to help in a variety of ways. What is your calling?
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave His disciples the Great Commission. Today this message is still relevant to each and every one of us. There are many ways you can go forth and live this great commission for our Sister Parish in San Jose. First and foremost, ask God what His calling is for you. Then take any or all of the next three actions:
Our mission to San Jose is founded on four main pillars: medicine, faith, education, and relationships. Discern how God is calling you to serve: by praying for the people of San Jose, in providing for the needs of the village, or in proceeding to San Jose and going on a mission to build upon all four pillars.
Words of remembrance and thanks are from our Sister Parish
We, the community of San Jose el Tesoro in Yalpemech, Guatemala, want to proclaim the social and spiritual development that we have been experiencing, because of the unconditional support that we received from Sister Bernadette and the parish of Saint Patrick, Hudson, WI.
Our community of San Jose el Tesoro began about 26 years ago. After about ten years living as refugees in a foreign country, we came to this place in north Alta Verapaz, hoping to rebuild our lives and become a part of the social and productive life of our country. On March 1, 1991, we arrived bringing only the basic necessities to survive those first days. We brought a few pieces of wood and some worn out tin roofs to build simple homes to begin a new life. With much effort, and trust and faith in God we believed that, one day we would have better living conditions; a little bit of land to cultivate to sustain our family and a better home.
When we formally settled in San Jose el Tesoro, we were supported by the missionary work of the School Sisters of St. Francis, represented by Sister Joannes Klas. She has been with us since October of 1982, when we lived in the refugee camp in Honduras. She is still with us today and hopefully will continue as long as possible. It was also possible thanks to an important relationship between our community and the School Sisters of Saint Francis, especially Sister Bernadette, who forged the relationship between us and the people of Saint Patrick Parish in Hudson, Wisconsin.
With great joy and gratitude, we want to share that, today, our community includes a church, a pastoral formation center, a very helpful telephone service, legal land titles, a child care center, an emergency health center, a better home for the majority of the families, electricity, and an enclosed school yard. Most of the families have a tank to store water. Many young men and women have had the opportunity to finish high school and to begin productive careers as professionals. In addition, children, youth, and adults have received formation in the faith, inserting themselves formally in their Christian baptismal commitment.
We want to mention that each year members of our sister parish from Hudson visits us; they come to know us and to share experiences, living with our families. In spite of difficulties, they have lent a hand in different projects and activities. By this gesture of brotherhood and solidarity, they have shown that there are no barriers of color, language, culture or social position that divide us. Truly in the sight of God we are all equal. We are grateful for their friendship. If we were to list them all by name, it would fill many notebooks.
2014 Youth Team
2013 Winter Team
~ for the family needs of the community
~ for those struggling to find God’s love for them
~ for the interrelationship between our parishes
~ funds for needed projects
~ funds for the Sisters to continue their work in the village
~ water systems for clean water
~ to work side-by-side with the people in the village
~ to strengthen the love and bond between our Parishes
~ to be the hands and feet of Christ
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
~ John 13:34-35
~ for the spiritual health of the village
~ for the Sisters who serve the people with their whole lives
~ that Christ’s love be shared by all
~ Bibles for the church and village
~ rosaries and sacramentals
~ funds for catechetical training
~ to worship side-by-side with the people of San Jose
~ to share your faith journey
~ to share the love of Christ with all
Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.
~ Ephesians 4:15-16
~ for the health of the people in San Jose
~ for the openness of people to seek medical treatment
~ that someone permanently serve the medical needs of this village
~ vitamins and medication to those in need
~ new and used eyeglasses
~ funds for medical equipment
~ to share your medical experience
~ to assist the medical professionals
~ to use any field of medical knowledge
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
~ Matthew 10:6-8
~ for every child’s education
~ for their teachers
~ for continued pursuit of higher education
~ financial assistance for higher education
~ library books for the community center’s library
~ school supplies and technology for the children
~ to teach English to the youth
~ to teach specialized skills and learning
~ to teach about our culture and experience theirs
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity.
~ Romans 10:6-8
Over the years, Saint Patrick’s Parishioners have:
- improved electricity infrastructure
- brought in telephone lines
- road improvements
- paid taxes on land
- built cement block houses
- provided the means to obtain a three horse-power generator
- obtained a vehicle for Sister Johanna to help her minister to villagers
- provided medicines, vitamins, and medical/dental care
- obtained some fresh water collectors
- provided some land purchasing assistance
- provided school supplies
- given friendship, empathy, compassion, and hope
Saint Patrick’s Parishioners Have Been Given:
- friendship, gratitude, and a deepening of faith
- a sharing of hospitality and hope
- a real understanding of Christ’s love for the poor
- strengthened love for simplicity and relationships over materialism
- an enlarged sense of compassion
- a greater appreciation the gifts in one’s own life
- a greater sense of meaning and ability to make a difference
- opportunities to educate our children regarding the world outside of Hudson
- exposure to a different culture
- an opportunity to partner with and support the work of the School Sisters of St. Francis, in the tradition of St. Francis’ care for the poor
- a spiritual connection that underscores the universality of our shared Catholic faith