SPECIAL PARISH PROJECTS
NICARAGUAN HOUSING ASSISTANCE
Through an ecumenical church program in Baltimore we have been assisting the people of San Juan Limay, Nicaragua, to build housing for people living in unbelievable conditions. So far we have managed to build six houses for poor families. To be eligible each family must have clear title to some land, have volunteer help to build the home and be unable to get financing elsewhere. A committee in the village determines eligibility. All we do is purchase the materials.
The cost of materials for each house is $1,800 to $2,000, including a pit privy. Our plan is to build 18 houses thanks to generous parishioners.
Photos of the houses built thus far have been displayed in the Festival Room. This program really changes the lives of families for the better.
In the future we will be working directly with the parish of San Juan in Nicaragua, rather than going through the group in Baltimore.
SOUTH AFRICAN NURSING STUDENT ASSISTANCE
Our parish has assisted a young woman in South Africa who was abandoned by her parents. Her name is Lorraine Manzini.
Lorraine needed help to attend nursing school. She came to our attention through Elizabeth Chester, a former Peace Corps volunteer who got to know Loraine when she was working in South Africa.
Lorraine is doing very well in school and is an enthusiastic student. She is a regular correspondent with us. Some of her letters have been posted on the bulletin board in the Festival Room. We also keep in touch with her school in Middleburg, South Africa.
Total cost of the support to Loraine was about $2,000 per year. The entire cost was paid by a generous parishioner who wants to invest in her future work.
SISTER PARISH IN MEXICO
For the past several years we have been assisting a sister parish in Hidalgo, Mexico. Actually our assistance has spread to three parishes, all in the same area, in the Diocese of Huejutla. The three parishes are Santa Ana, in Santa Ana, San Pedro in Chapulhuacan, and Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart) in Pisa Flores. All are near one another in the mountains north of Mexico City. Initially our contact with these parishes came from workers at Denton’s Crab House, who came to Calvert County on season workers’ visas to pick the crabs. Many of these workers attended our church.
Each of our sister parishes in Mexico has more than 20 chapels in each of several small towns which are part of the parish territory.
Our contact for all of these places is a catechist, Justino (“Tino”) Perez Moreno. Tino is a catechist in the parish of San Pedro. He has care of 14 communities (pueblos), each with their own church. When we met Tino he was homeless, sleeping in the churches he cared for. Tino also works in the fields.
Over several years we have assisted in building two chapels. We have also built retaining walls, paid for doors and windows for churches and purchased several bells, chairs for churches, and Bibles, catechisms, prayer books and hymn books. We have also distributed clothing and other goods. We have also purchased material for a house for Tino (about $3,000). We have also bought school supplies for about 225 children in Santa Ana. Our CCD children, under the leadership of Jeanette Gionfriddo, collected money for books (in Spanish) for the children at Santa Ana.
Father Daly and parishioners from St. John Vianney have made three visits to that area in the last 10 years.
The total cost of all these projects has been paid by the proceeds from our annual Latino Night and from special donations from generous parishioners.
Over the years we have sent about $12,000 to Mexico for various projects.
PAST PROJECTS NOW COMPLETED
When Hurricane Katrina hit, our parish responded with extraordinary generosity. We have assisted Our Mother of Mercy parish in Pass Christian, Mississippi to get back on its feet after this unprecedented natural disaster. We also assisted people in shelters immediately after the disaster. We assisted in the purchase of winter coats for children living in a FEMA trailer park in Louisiana. We also assisted the Sisters of Mercy with programs to return people to their homes in Mississippi and helped the parish of Corpus Christi in New Orleans to provide emergency housing in their old convent building.
The money spent does not reflect the full value of what we have done. Our parish has made five working mission trips to Mississippi. More than 50 members of our parish from teens to senior citizens have gone and worked for a week at a time. The materials and hours donated and the in-kind contributions of tools, work and expertise are huge. The market value of the work we have done on the Mother of Mercy parish would have been about $250,000 if they had to hire people to do the work.
We spent the balance of our money on volunteer support and helping people return to their homes. This has been an unprecedented effort.
More information and pictures.
Our parish assisted a young woman in Bucharest, who was attending nursing school. We met her through a priest in Bucharest (Fr. Martin) who asked us to pay for her schooling. She has now completed her studies.
Through a Polish missionary priest (Fr. Emil Cudak), we assisted two villages to build community wells in Cameroon, West Africa. These wells provide fresh water to several hundred people.
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