Parish of San Atanasio
Placetas, Cuba

In the center of Cuba, four French priests, members of the French Saint-Martin Community, along with three nuns and two deacons, lovingly tend to the Parish of San Atanasio.  Their mission is a difficult one, as the parish is comprised of 25 chapels and 75,000 inhabitants.

The needs of the Cuban faithful are huge. The Cuban Church has suffered from oppression for more than 50 years, including the requisitioning in 1960 of Church properties, i.e., Catholic schools and sacristies.  Catholic schools are forbidden in Cuba and the younger generation is unsure of the possibility of a higher education.  However, the Cuban faithful have incredible hope and devotion in God, and are looking to the future with optimism with the help of the Church and your kindness.

The Fathers have created numerous social activities for their community.  Among them:

  • A daycare center for 25 children, operated 5 days a week.
  • The New Hope Project: Getting very poor children off the street, giving them an education and the attention they need.  These services are provided every Saturday morning.
  • Free lunch twice a week for 150 of the poorest people.
  • A retirement home attended by 4 Sisters welcoming 25 elderly people.  Opened 5 days a week.
  • A free pharmacy offering medicine collected abroad.
  • Meetings for people suffering from Down Syndrome.

Urgent help is needed – the Parish House is at the point of collapse

Right now, the Fathers’ most urgent need is funding for the repair and partial rebuilding of their Parish House, which is vital to the community they serve.

The Parish House hosts evening classes, welcoming more than 525 students every evening for 8 different courses taught by more than 30 professional teachers. Each year, more than 60 applicants need to be turned away due to a lack of space. There is also a boarding school that welcomes 20 teenagers from poor families, sports clubs (football, cycling…), music classes and French classes — benefiting over 100 young people.

The Parish House was built in the 1920s and has never been fully maintained over the years.  Now there are definitive signs that unless action is taken soon, the House will collapse. This, of course, threatens all the important activities the Church leads with the community.

The Parish has started to collect funding for the repairs, which will cost approximately $150,000.  But they desperately need the support of concerned Catholics like you.  Will you help our Cuban brothers and sisters keep the faith alive in their country?

My Gift to my brothers and sisters in Cuba