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Thank You for Your Support of the Guatemala Mission!

By Donna Connell and Julianne Connell Sachs

Thank You for Your Support of the Guatemala Mission!

The Guatemala Commission of the Spokane Diocese is grateful to announce that we met our annual budget for the fiscal year July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. We are especially appreciative of your generous support this year, as several fundraisers were canceled due to the pandemic.

While most donations are made through parishes, some individuals donate directly to the Guatemala Commission. Many parishes use special “stewardship” envelopes for donations to the mission, while others allocate a percentage from their regular church donations. Fundraisers like breakfasts and special sales usually provide additional income for the programs in the mission.

The mission’s support for people in the highlands of Guatemala dates to 1959, when Bishop Bernard Topel led the Diocese of Spokane into an agreement with the Diocese of Sololá, whereby Spokane offered to share spiritual, material, and human resources with the Diocese of Sololá. Over the past 62 years, this two-way relationship has enriched the lives of thousands of Mayan Indian people as well as many in the Spokane diocese. 

Guatemala Mission programs are designed to enhance religious, physical, economic, and social well-being in the communities we serve, thereby improving opportunities for people to provide for themselves and their families while at home in the highlands.

A large part of the Guatemala Commission budget is directed to sustain four medical clinics administered by Dr. Jose Miguel Vasquez. Recently, a laboratory was added to the Novillero clinic, enabling diagnoses on site. Thank you, St. Mary, Spokane Valley; St. Patrick, Pasco; St. Joseph Church, Colbert; and Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral, for sending support to the medical programs.

Nawal Estero, the radio station in Nahuala, continues to broadcast to more than1.5 million people, providing a vital service to the community. We extend gratitude to parishioners at Sacred Heart, Pullman; St. Gall, Colton; and St. Patrick and St. Francis of Walla Walla for continued support of the radio program. 

Educating more than 400 students, the Catholic elementary school Colegio Nahuala appreciates the financial assistance provided by St. Augustine, Spokane. Students studied from home until Jan. 7 of this year, at which time they began attending school in groups. During the time at home, support materials were delivered to students.

Thank you, St. Francis and St. Patrick of Walla Walla and St. Joseph of Colbert, for helping fund the vibrant Our Lady of the Highway Preschool, which provides free early childhood education for three-to-five-year-olds.

The Minor Seminary of St. Joseph, located in Sololá, continues to remodel while educating 33 young men in grades 10 and 11. We are grateful to have Our Lady of Fatima, Spokane, working alongside the Guatemala Commission to regularly support the seminary. Our Lady of Fatima, Spokane, also supports several other educational institutions, including a boarding school for girls and a special needs school. 

Various religious programs in Ixtahuacan and Nahuala are fully funded, thanks to Spokane’s support. Fr. Manuel Nicasio sends sincere gratitude to St. Joseph, Colbert, and St. Patrick, St. Francis, and Assumption, Walla Walla.  St. Joseph donates to youth programs such as religious education and school scholarships. The three Walla Walla parishes provide pastoral support for training catechists and translating materials into Quiche. 

Thankfully, Assumption, Spokane, and many individuals throughout the diocese sent donations that were “unrestricted” and other parishes, such as Assumption, Walla Walla, exceeded their annual commitment, allowing the commission to fully fund all programs.

In addition to the programs listed above, many parishioners of St. Thomas More, Spokane, have been consistent supporters of Family-to-Family, an economic development program founded in 1985. Family-to-Family provides income-producing skills training and resources to families and communities in the Guatemalan Highlands so that they can rise from poverty and become self-sufficient. For further information about Family-to-Family, please visit www.familytofamilyguatemala.com. 

After being unable to gather in 2020 and 2021, we are planning our Eighth Annual Guatemala Mission Celebration for May 2022. We are hoping to soon begin ticket sales at parishes for a quilt to be raffled at the celebration; proceeds will go to roof repair of Santa Catarina Church and the Marian Center in Ixtahuacan.


For further information about the Guatemala Mission and its programs, please visit the website:

WWW.DIOCESEOFSPOKANE.ORG/DIOCESE-OF-SOLOLA