Guatemala Sister Parish

Fr. Miguel Angel Anguilar Moran, CM, celebrates Mass with one of his 150 commuities scattered over 1,495.4 square miles of Sayaxche.  It is home to approximately 60,495 people. St. Anthony of Padua parish has 68 communities.

The parish is restructuring to identify and promote new leaders into commissions of prophetic, social, liturgical, family, youth, and cultural organizations.  It is hoped to make their instruction more systematic so their pastoral agents will be more efficient. 

The impoverishment of the people increases daily due to lack of work. There is a notable lack of basic services to help citizens improve themselves with education or training. Transnational companies pressure people to sell their land cheaply with the hopes of moving out of poverty.  However then they are employed by the company and paid with poor wages.

 
The communities are threatened by armed guards and bullies to ensure easy takeover of their lands.  Laws are not enforced because the drug dealers rule the areas.  These people are inserted in the land, petroleum, and forest companies. They also rule the area's politics.  This area is presently experiencing a curfew for a month due to a massacre in a town where the Vincentian Fathers have the parish, Libertad, in Peten. Twenty-seven people were brutally killed by drug traffickers. This curfew means they cannot meet in groups or meetings.  This prevents catechesis. 

The people of St. Anthony of Padua celebrate their faith with processions on their patron's feast day.

Catechetical leaders in designated areas carry on the work of sharing and instructing others with the faith.  Fr. Moran makes every effort for regular visits to each community to celebrate the sacraments.  Confirmation, which has not been celebrated for years, is being received with joy with the availability of Msgr. Fiandri.

DIFFICULTIES

St. Anthony of Padua is not auto-sustainable.  Their improvement committee does promote raffles, sales of meals, and auctions to obtain income to finish the parish church which was built two years ago.

The last pastor revealed that the church had been robbed of a sound system in a larger church in the province.  He then shouted and became hoarse every Sunday in order that the congregation could hear him.

For his pastoral work, Fr. Moran, could use a laptop and educational materials, which must always be translated into Spanish and Q'eqchi (80% of the population).  Many people because of their economic situation have a difficult time traveling from their places to the churches or catechetical classes.

Special thanks to Sr. Marcia Kruse of Gibault High School for the translations of Fr. Moran's letters.