fostering hope and unity
we aim to build bridges between the communities we serve, and never have we been so united in prayer as we face similar challenges throughout the world.
We have had several people ask "how things are going” in the different areas where the Community of Saint Paul is serving missions. Please read on for a brief update on how we're striving to foster hope and unity in a time of despair and distancing.
In addition to the work of CSP members in parishes in Milwaukee, and non-profits in Spain, in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Colombia we serve parishes and communities in low income areas, who are now facing an exceptional challenge in the face of the Corona Virus.
Many of the families we work with have it especially difficult during the pandemic as they live off of low paying day labor. We serve those in urban and rural area, each with their different challenges.
We have a unique opportunity for solidarity in the efforts to alleviate the growing needs in these regions, and we count on your prayers and financial support to be able to do so.
areas of interest
The educators in Centro San José gave activities to parents to do with their children while at home in quarantine, to help them develop motor skills. Enjoy this brief video of the children learning, growing and playing while at home with their families:
Casa San José
Casa San José is an institution that welcomes boys between 5 and 14 years of age who live on the streets of Cochabamba and who have cut off ties with their families. As a result, the CSP cares for their basic needs. The Casa is supervised by Montserrat of the CSP.
This site is on complete lock down. Educators take turns to be in lock down with the boys who are regularly checked for health issues. This has been an extra strain especially on the staff. On May 1, they celebrated the 16th Anniversary of the Center.
Vacas and Independencia
Montse, Gemma and Aniceto of the CSP also run programs in rural communities near Cochabamba, Vacas and Independencia. These agrarian communities have been able to support themselves for the last month with recent crops, but they are bracing for running out of food supplies in early June, which the CSP is beginning to prepare for.
Nuestra Señora del Rosario Parish (Our Lady of the Rosary)
Fr. Pablo is the pastor of a parish that covers five neighborhoods totaling 22,000 people; one of the poorest areas even before the crisis. It is an overpopulated area, with most of the inhabitants lacking living in precarious conditions and with limited access to resources, including healthcare.
People are coming regularly looking for food. As more and more people come, Pablo has said they are blessed with more and more people asking how they can help. Pablo, who is a physician, has prepared the rectory as a first-instance clinic, namely to help people who don’t have signs of COVID-19, to alleviate the strain on the health system, and also to keep people with other issues safe from exposure. He also provides extra counseling.
Centro San José
Centro San José is the CSP´s center for children and families in the outskirts of the city in Jardines de San Juan, Tlalpan. Theses are the working poor, who cannot go to work in the city. They are running out of supplies, so Sarah and Ángeles have opened the center to hand out food and supplies to help sustain the families.
La Resurrección Parish in Southern Bogotá
Fr. Martí Colom is the pastor of La Resurrección parish, located in the south of Bogotá (Colombia’s capital), one of the poorest area. The parish, which is made up of three working-class neighborhoods, has 15,000 people.
Since the beginning of the crisis, Fr. Martí and the other members of the CSP who are with him in Colombia have been able to secure donations of food . After almost two months unable to get out to work, the situation is getting quite desperate for a good number of La Resurrección parishioners, who were already living day to day. A popular initiative in Colombia has been that people who are running out of basic supplies at home due to the crisis hang a red piece of cloth on their windows. The CSP has been attending to them regularly.
A group of women from the sewing center run by the CSP in Bogotá have been making face masks to distribute to those who do not have them.
Fr. Martí has been live streaming masses and offering a daily biblical message to his community in the parish’s facebook page.
La Sagrada Familia Parish
Every two weeks, food kits are prepared and delivered to 110 elderly in Sabana Yegua, coordinated by Maya. Indhira coordinates the food kits provided to the 160 families in the three childrens´ center. Dolors has worked with local health officials regarding keeping parish's pharmacy open while taking extra precautions, and well as the doctor's office and lab services. Some government aid has been provided, as well as additional food to aid distant communities. Hygiene materials and food have been provided for the local jail, coordinated by Perla. We are also trying to help the Haitian immigrant community, most of which doesn't qualify for aid from the government due to their legal status.
In addition, Fr. Michael Wolfe offers masses and reflections via Facebook and YouTube, as well as some reflections broadcast on local radio.