The 50th Anniversary of the Mission of the Diocese of Helena, MT. is to be celebrated on February 8, 2014. It does not seem possible. I was blessed to be one of the first missionaries, arriving as a lay Missionary in 1966. I witnessed the construction of the buildings, the planting of the trees, the beginning of the Coffee Cooperative, the beginnings of our Health Program, all part of our mission today.
There were many foriegn missionaries of the Catholic Church in the sixties. Schools and clinics were built. We celebrated together on holidays. We visited each others projects and shared ideas and faith.
Times changed. Most of the mission are now run by local Guatemalans. Spanish is the language most spoken and holidays now celebrated with local customs. Many missionaries, volunteers, visitors, friends, contributed time and talent to develop different aspects of our mission programs. Most important donors and friends, family, and our Diocesean Mission office and parishes contributed to make work and progress possible through donation and prayer.
The people are still very poor. Injustice is as common as it was almost 50 years ago. Education is more available to both girls and boys and the majority of children finish primary school in public schools.
Fr Jim Hazelton contributed immensely to the reality to education in the area of our mission. He initiated primary schools in most of the communities, where no primary local schools previously existed. He established two successful junior and senior high schools, in Santa Maria Visitacion and Asuncion in Xejuyup, Nahuala, Solola.
The armed struggle, which terminated in a peace accord in 1996, was accredited much to Cardinal Quedzada Torruno. THERE are MORE MEDICAL CENTERS OF HEALTH of the government present in the rural area but there are NO MEDICINES! Narcotraffic, Extorsion, Gold Mines and Hidroelectric plants are the reality of exploitation of the poor and their lands in the present reality. THE POOR ARE MORE POOR! The violence continues. PRAY FOR US!
THE CHURCH IS VERY PRESENT!! ACCOMPANY US WITH PRAYER AND DONATION.