Building Bridges – Our Sister Parish

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 a Sister Parish relationships from a third world nation.  Initial plans were made in the early 1990 and the first trip by St. Mary parishioners to Quiche in the highlands of Guatemala was made in 2000. The relationship with this Sister parish lasted for almost 20 years. Many parishioners have visited Guatemala numerous times; pastors from Guatemala have in turn visited us at St. Mary’s.

Why Guatemala:

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.

 San Gaspar- Chajul Guatemala

In the fall of 2013 the committee agreed it was time to move on and reach out to another community in an even more remote section of the department of Quiche Guatemala.  Our relationship with San Gaspar Chajul Guatemala began in October of 2013 with a visit to St. Mary’s from Padre Santos the pastor of San Gaspar.

The parish of San Gaspar in the town of Chajul Guatemala is located in the Ixil region in the rural highlands of Guatemala. Padre Tomas Racanjoc Batz is the pastor of San Gaspar. Padre Tomas is deeply committed to his community and is especially in tune with the youth of his parish.  San Gaspar is primarily an isolated subsistence farming community, few professional opportunities exist and education past the 6th grades not an option for most families.

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 Sister Parish! Meetings are held once a month September through May at 7:00 in the parish center conference room, meetings are always listed in the bulletin and are on the Parish Calendar.  Contact Santa Orlando at 428-3215 or via email at for more information.

 Financial Support past and present

The needs of the people of Guatemala have changed over the years.  In the past donations from St. Mary’s helped to rebuild a church after the war, put in phone lines, purchase vehicles and help build a parish center.

San Gaspar has used our financial support to further the education of 2 students in middle school, training of youth leaders in the parish and for food and organization for an inter-parish meeting for 2,500-3,000 young people in November.

 Coffee Sales profit Missioneros Caminando Por La Paz

The Building Bridges Committee of St. Mary’s Crescent offers for sale Family Coffee to benefit Caminando Por La Paz, an educational program in inner city Guatamala.

This arabica coffee, which is packaged in 16 ounce bags, either ground or whole bean, is grown across the border in Honduras. Perfect Conditions for Perfect Coffee!

Click here to learn about our coffee program: Fair Trade Coffee returns to St Mary’s