A Vehicle for a Remote Mountain Parish in Guatemala
The challenges are enormous in the Parish of El Calvaria in central Guatemala. It covers an area of over 780 square miles of mountainous terrain and includes over 100 small, separate communities. Most of the inhabitants are indigenous peoples belonging to the ethnic Kekchi tribe. They are especially disadvantaged and marginalized and live for the most part in deep poverty.
Many of their families had been caught up in the bitter civil war from 1968 to 1996, victims of abductions and torture or losing family members, and many children were orphaned. “The wounds from that era are still not healed,” says Father Charitable Derisseau, who is himself from Haiti. “The widows, orphans and other survivors of this conflict are still living in our parish to this day,” he adds.
His parish has been in existence for over 60 years, and for 46 of these it has been in the care of the priests of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Until recently, there have been three priests working here, with a fourth now joining them after being ordained in September 2022. There is a great deal of work to be done. Last year alone there were over one thousand First Holy Communions and Confirmations.
One of the biggest challenges is the difficulty of reaching many of the villages and settlements. Some of the journeys can take hours on foot, requiring trudging through mud-filled footpaths, while others require a sturdy off-road vehicle to negotiate the difficult tracks.
A few years ago, thanks to our kind friends and supporters, we were able to supply one such vehicle to navigate the long distances and challenging terrain. Now that the number of priests has risen to four and the pastoral workload for this far-flung parish has likewise increased, a second vehicle is urgently needed. We are hoping to help with a contribution of $21,900.
Can you help these priests purchase a second vehicle to they can more quicky and easily reach those they serve in this remote mountain parish in Guatemala?
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