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Pauline and Craig Soehren Represent Their Parish on Guatemala Commission
(Pictured: 2014 pilgrims at scenic view on the way to the mission: Victor Vera, Pauline, Craig, Lisa Sharkey, Grace Vera, Donna and Ron Connell, Pat Sharkey).
Pauline and Craig Soehren, members of Assumption Parish in Spokane, are integral members of the Guatemala Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane. In 2011, Pauline began when Father Mike Savelesky, pastor, asked for someone to represent the parish at commission meetings. The Soehrens had donated to Family-to-Family for years, also attending events featuring representatives from Guatemala, so they were familiar with the mission’s goals.
In February 2014, Pauline and Craig traveled to the mission with six others from the Spokane diocese. This trip was especially meaningful because then-Bishop of Spokane, Cardinal Blase Cupich, joined the group for three days, visiting people and programs in the mission and participating in processions and Masses. Other activities during the 10-day trip included working on the doors of the Marian Center, meeting with leaders of all sponsored programs, worshipping with parishioners, helping Dr. Jose Miguel with the ultrasound machine, and cleaning Father Baronti’s kitchen.
“Once I was involved with the commission, my desire to see the mission areas in Guatemala increased,” said Pauline, a nurse practitioner in cardiology. “Many parts of the trip were very memorable. The procession, for Bishop Cupich, from the hill above Ixtahuacan to the church, was a highlight. The people were truly friendly, genuine, and humble, and willing to share their time and talents with us - even cooking dinner for us one night!”
Soon after that trip, Pauline and Craig, a commercial real estate broker, took on leadership positions on the commission; Craig as treasurer, and Pauline as secretary, with both being members of the Board of Directors.
Craig led and orchestrated the transition of the Guatemala Commission to incorporation in 2018. Both Craig and Pauline have been active in planning and conducting the Guatemala Mission Annual Celebration. They also participate in making decisions for programs and in determining the group’s budget.
As representatives from Assumption Parish, they communicate information about the mission and coordinate special projects. Assumption Parish began supporting the mission in 2011, requesting that funds be “unrestricted,” which means they can be used where most needed.
Assumption Parish allocates an annual contribution to the Guatemala Mission, among other charities, through its budgeting process for outreach. Parishioners contribute to a fund that serves several charitable endeavors. Designated donations may be augmented throughout the year as contributions allow.
Pauline encourages everyone to consider involvement in the mission. “New commission members are encouraged and welcomed,” she said. “We are a fun group!” Meetings are normally held quarterly and are open to interested persons. Of the 22 people currently active in the commission, 11 parishes are represented. For more information, contact Donna Connell at 509-924-1346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.