Who are we?
We are members of St. Mary’s whose focus is to create a Global Community by reaching out to people in emerging countries. Our goal is to enter into solidarity with them to break down the barriers that keep us apart and celebrate what we have in common. We believe in sharing our financial resources and increasing awareness of life in other countries. Building Bridges was formed in response to a diocese challenge that encouraged parishes to develop greater global awareness and enter into relationships with a third world nation.
The indigenous Mayan people were the target of genocide during the 36-year civil war that officially ended in 1996. Today the Mayan people continue to struggle for basic human rights such as adequate food, clean water, medical care and education.
St. Mary’s Crescent has had a relationship with Guatemala since 1996. The previous relationships had been with two parishes in the department of Quiche in rural Guatemala. Many parishioners have visited Guatemala numerous times; pastors from Guatemala have in turn visited us at St. Mary’s.
Our Present Relationship – St. Mary’s continues to support the Guatemalan People
In February of 2019 the Building Bridges Committee announced a change which will increase communication and build a stronger relationship with the people and children of Guatemala. We are now accompanying the young men, women and children of Caminando Por La Paz, a community in Guatemala City. We hope that this will lead to a special bond with true interaction between our people and those benefiting from this program.
Caminando Por La Paz
Caminando Por La Paz Guatemala was started by Maryknoll Father Thomas Goekler MM to provide a safe haven for children living on the margins in Guatemala City. Fr. Tom died shortly after establishing this house in 2010, it has been run by committed young men who benefited from Fr. Tom’s vision. Caminando Por La Paz focuses on education as a ticket out of poverty and violence. Although Guatemala does provide public education, students must pay for books, supplies, and uniforms. This is a hardship for the poor, thus many children go without an education. This program tutors approximately 50 children, some who are currently attending school and others who have not had the opportunity. The program also offers nutritious food prior to the sessions, knowing that students who have not eaten are unable to learn. In addition, a weekly holy hour has been added where hymns are sung and the scriptures are discussed. The members of this volunteer community step in to help as needed, as this is the Guatemalan version of a Catholic Worker Community.
Come and See
We encourage you to come to one of our meetings, meet us and find out why we are so passionate about our new relationship. Meetings are held once a month September through May at 7:00 pm in the parish center conference room, meetings are always listed in the bulletin and are on the Parish Calendar. Contact Santa Orlando at 518-428-3215 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We encourage you to visit Caminando Por La Paz’s web site- https://www.fathertomsmission.org, or view the many videos available on Youtube to see the many programs and activities being offered by this community.
The connection between Caminando and St. Mary’s actually began in 2015. At that time Caminando had begun the sale of its Family Coffee as a way to promote the mission of Por La Paz and to finance its activities. St.Mary’s was one of the first and currently one of the strongest market outlets.
This whole bean coffee is Arabica coffee of specialty grade that is grown just across the Guatemalan border in Honduras at the altitude of 4593 feet, an excellent altitude for producing high quality coffee.Purchasing this coffee will provide you with a concrete method of helping the children of Guatemala City and the farmers who work tirelessly to provide this product.
In addition to benefiting the education project, the sale of this coffee provides funding to the coffee growers of Productores de Café La Familia. These farmers work to constantly improve the quality of their coffee and enhance their production methods to earn the distinction of Specialty Grade.
Our Building Bridges committee will be selling this delicious coffee both in whole bean and ground for $12/pound (decaf is available for $15/lb) after all the masses the second weekend of the month.