Catholic Charity Work in Mexico
Creating Self-Sustaining Communities through Livestock
The Gift of Chickens
Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico have suffered tremendously in the past couple of years. The combination of the pandemic and unexpected natural disasters has stripped these two communities of essential needs, spiking homelessness and unemployment. While being deprived of basic needs, it can be easy to lose hope and become spiritually empty.
Fortunately, we have the unique opportunity to partner with two passionate Catholic lay missionaries to physically and spiritually uplift Chiapas and Tabasco.
The Evangelizadores de Tiempo Completo (ETC) missionaries, Andrés Hernández and Leonel Góngora, dedicate their lives to fulfilling the needs of vulnerable and remote communities where Priests cannot go to daily. With the help of Andrés and Leonel, we have an innovative solution to provide these communities with the materials they need to create and maintain a self-sustaining lifestyle.
We are on a mission to supply 25 families with chickens, and the resources needed to raise the animals which will become an ongoing source of food and income!
Thanks to their experience in husbandry and evangelization, the ETCs will oversee and assist each community in raising the livestock while also sharing the love of God through this unique opportunity for evangelization.
Andrés and Leonel are ready to spring into action and help these communities take their first steps towards self-sustainability. Join us as we transform lives in Mexico with chickens, and above all, Christ’s love and hope.
Meet Two Dedicated and Selfless Lay Missionaries
The Evangelizadores de Tiempo Completo, or ETCs, serve to fill the gap that is created by the shortage of priests who are unable to reach remote villages. These faithful servants tend to the most vulnerable, marginalized, and often forgotten communities throughout South and Latin America.
In Chiapas and Tabasco, Andrés Hernández and Leonel Góngora, dedicate their lives to fulfilling the physical and spiritual the needs of everyone within these communities.
Meet Evangelizer Andrés Hernandez, Village of Santa Cruz in Tapilula, Chiapas.
Meet Evangelizer Leonel Góngora, Cumana Section in Cunduacán, Tabasco, Mexico
Together, these faithful servants have…
- Prepared 371 parishioners to receive the sacraments
- Opened 9 Catechetical centers
- Secured food donations for the poor
- Helped 20 non-practicing Catholics return to the faith
- Made 314 visits to the sick
- And even opened their homes to the homeless
Now, Andrés and Leonel are relying on our support to provide the resources that will transform Chiapas and Tabasco into self-sustaining communities that know the love of Christ. In return, they will share their husbandry experience with each community, spread the Gospel of Christ, and pray for our Catholic World Mission family of supporters.
Help Create Self-Sustaining Communities
We have the unique opportunity to physically and spiritually transform the communities of Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico. Help us provide 25 families with livestock and proper husbandry training for a source of ongoing income and food.
Your generosity will allow passionate lay missionaries to share the Gospel of Christ and lead the most vulnerable out of material and spiritual poverty.
“We need your support to continue with our evangelization mission and support our brothers and sisters most in need to help them move forward and know that God is with us. Count on my prayers for all of you.”
-Leonel Góngora, ETC Lay Missionary
Donate now to help our lay missionaries teach the most vulnerable how to live a fruitful and sustainable life.
Hens have arrived! Thanks to your faithful generosity, the families of Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico have new livestock and care supplies to jumpstart their journey of self-sustainability.
Following unexpected flooding and loss, the gift of livestock arrived when these communities needed it most. Now, each family has found hope in a new beginning and brighter future that is brought by a reliable source of food and income.
“Dear brothers, today I am very happy because I received good news. I thank CWM and their benefactors because you sent me 10 hens, a package of food, and vitamins for the hens. This help came to give us hope. Friends of CWM, thank you so much.”
– Maria del Rosario Díaz de Dios
Also, thanks to you, our dedicated lay missionaries (ETCs), Andrés and Leonel, are taken care of so they can continue to train families in husbandry and share Gospel of Christ.
Because of your support, we are hopeful that Chiapas and Tabasco will be able to lift themselves out of physical and spiritually poverty and start a new path towards self-sustainability.
Relief from Rising Rivers in Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico
Relief from Rising Rivers in Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexico
With pandemic fatigue looming, the humble residents of Chiapas and Tabasco were hit with a catastrophic blow in November of 2020. Storm Eta swelled rivers, causing landslides and floods in these impoverished states in southern Mexico. In the in the city of Tapilula, located on the north-west side of the State of Chiapas, 10 families suddenly found themselves homeless.
On November 5th, Andres Hernandez, a local evangelizer welcomed the 10 families, 30 displaced people in all, into his home and sheltered them from further harm. 37 people under one small roof! What a beautiful testament to love thy neighbor. CWM partnered with Arch Bishop Fabio Martinez Castillo to send food relief to help feed these 30 refuges and others throughout the seven affected municipalities of Chiapas and Tapilua. These resilient communities responded. Everyone pitched in to help unload trucks and distribute the dry goods and supplies received through your generosity and CWM partners, helping those who lost everything.
Touched by the generosity of Catholic World Mission partners and your continued donations to our general fund, some Santa Cruz families were moved to write letters of appreciation and gratitude. Their smiles are a testament to what you can change through Catholic World Mission.
We, the Santa Cruz Community families, thank Catholic World Mission for the support received in this community.
Tapilula, Chiapas, November 24, 2020
Benefactors of Full Time Evangelizers (ETC),
On behalf of the families affected from the community of Santa Cruz in the municipality of Tapilula, we thank the benefactors who through the Full Time Evangelizers and Andrés Hernández González promoted the humanitarian aid we received on November 23, 2020. We are grateful to God for this show of charity and brotherhood and to you for the support our families received and your packages of basic pantries. Also we thank brother Andrés Hernández (fulltime lay missionary), for the great support he has given us, offering us shelter for our families, thanks to him at least we have a roof to shelter our children. We have small children and unfortunately we have lost our houses, our heritage that with great effort and work we had. We practically have lost everything.
We also thank, with all our hearts, Pedro Algarín Villagomez (Fulltime lay missionaries trainer in Chiapas) who promoted this great support. It was very helpful for our families. We have other urgent needs such as relocation because we can’t return to our homes because they became totally uninhabitable. We hope that you will be the bridge with the corresponding authorities so we can be supported and listened to in our needs.
We have no words to thank for the support and help received, you will be in our prayers. On Sunday we have a mass celebration and there we’ll put you in God’s hands. In each moment we remember your good actions for being with us and for not leaving us alone.
God our Lord bless you and thank you for the support.
Fraternally in Christ, De la Cruz Urquin Family, López de la Cruz Family, Solorsano de la Cruz Family, Hernández Sánchez Family, Hernández Ruíz Family, López de la Cruz Family, De la Cruz López Family, Villarreal de la Cruz Family, González López Family
San Patricio (St. Patrick) Catholic Church
Fr. Patrick Butler, LC, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Fr. Patrick Butler, LC is dedicated to fulfilling both the physical and spiritual needs for his community. For the past 10 years, Fr. Patrick has served as a missionary in Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Originally, he began as an assistant pastor but has spent the past 5 years as a parish priest for Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart).
The Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart) parish contains two communities in separate locations: Divino Niño (Divine Child) and San Patricio (St. Patrick). Fr. Patrick deeply cares about the wellbeing of both communities, as he administers to demanding parish needs and humbly provides pastoral care.
Beyond administrative efforts, Fr. Patrick practices corporal works of mercy by feeding the hungry through his Community Kitchen and visiting the homes of the sick through hospital ministry. Fortunately, the local community contains a few Catholic schools available for students in elementary, middle, and high school. By understanding the importance of illuminating the mind through education, Fr. Patrick is also a religion teacher and a chaplain at multiple Catholic schools.
Fr. Patrick’s passionate generosity is evident through his many service efforts. Moving forward, he intends on finalizing the construction of San Patricio church.
San Patricio (St. Patrick) Catholic Church
The San Patricio church is located in a newly-constructed area called “Avenida Fuego” in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This rapidly growing community is home to approximately 30,000 people within the lower-middle and middle-class. Because the population is expected to grow by 30% within the next few years, Fr. Patrick intends on finalizing the construction of San Patricio so it can serve as the spiritual heart for the community through masses, retreats, and catechism programs.
Six years ago, the structure of San Patricio Catholic Church was made up of three components: some columns, a few beams, and a roof. Although the church was originally a skeleton structure, its potential was gradually revealed throughout the years because of your generous donations and support.
Now, San Patricio has a stable foundation, a sacristy, a storage area, finished restrooms, and a second building with 5 classrooms intended for retreats and a CCD program for the community children.
Unfortunately, the church has low attendance because it still lacks some essential, final elements. Currently, their scarcity of tolerable seating forces the community to travel far distances to attend mass elsewhere or to not attend mass at all.
Fr. Patrick believes that the famous Field of Dreams quote holds true: “If you build it they will come.”
San Patricio Catholic Church hopes to flourish into a reliable, spiritual beacon for the community by finalizing its construction with proper flooring, wooden pews, and wall-coverings around the precious altar.
Scroll and Click to see the progress of San Patricio throughout the years:
San Patricio Parish Responds to COVID-19 with Solidarity Supper
Unfortunately, a health-crisis such as a pandemic affects us all, especially those who were already battling poverty. Unexpectedly, one’s current needs are amplified while new, additional needs arise unfulfilled. Across the US, we have seen an increasing struggle to provide families with basic necessities like food and toilet paper. A similar struggle exists in a subdivision called “Mundo Habitat” in the region of Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March, parishioners of Sagrado Corazon were turning to the church to relieve both their increased spiritual and physical hunger.
With the combined efforts of volunteers, community families, missionaries, and local restaurants, the parish created a community kitchen called “Cenas Solidarias” (Solidarity Supper).
The self-made community kitchen distributes food baskets, costing approximately $180 pesos ($7.82 US). The food comes from multiple generous resources including a local Spanish restaurant who donates prepared food daily, local taco and fish-fry restaurants, and individual families who contribute anything they can from bread to drinks to desserts. The kitchen provides double servings to about 140 people a day and is run by the community 7 days a week.
Solidarity Supper was fully curated because of generous hearts in the Sagrado Corazon community. It alleviates the weight of hunger and financial burdens during the unpredicted pandemic. However, the kitchen wanted to feed the mouths beyond the immediate community.
Families in the surrounding, rural communities (referred to as communities “of the woods”) lack the means to travel to Solidarity Supper. Instead, missionary Victor Manuel Becerra hand delivers the food directly to their homes.
The community intends on continuing the kitchen for the next 7 ½ months, but they currently lack enough resources to feed the snaking lines. To sustain the Solidarity Supper throughout the pandemic, they humbly ask for your support today.
Scroll and Click to see more pictures of the Community Kitchen:
“Whatever you did to the least of my brothers that you did unto me”
“There is no ulterior motive to feeding the hungry and giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty than to be faithful to the Lord’s teaching.”
-Fr. Patrick Butler, LC
Celebrating Two Years of Solidarity Suppers 2022
Thanks to your support, the community kitchen called Solidarity Supper has been serving the surrounding community of Playa del Carmen for two years! Since its start, Solidarity Supper has fed thousands of families, provided household necessities for those most in need, and joyfully uplifted the community’s faith in Christ and in one another.
Families gathered in their Sunday best to celebrate Solidarity Supper’s two-year anniversary in the nearly-completed San Francisco Chapel. Although the chapel is still waiting on finishing touches, it has already been an anchor of faith and fellowship.
We express our heartfelt thanks for your generosity which has allowed Solidarity Suppers and the San Francisco Chapel to provide physical and spiritual nourishment to this deserving community.
Fiesta de San Nicolas 2021
This December, the Sagrado Corazon parish hosted a Solidarity Suppers’ Fiesta de San Nicolas! Crowds of parishioners and families of neighboring communities eagerly lined up to partake in the celebration. Solidarity Suppers created a joyful space with live music, festive decorations, piñata games, and a visit from St. Nicholas.
Families were provided with homemade meals, bags of essential household items, and a toy drive for the children. The self-made community kitchen continues to serve as a beacon for physical and spiritual renewal. Thank you for all that you do to keep Solidarity Suppers alive!
You can give now to this worthy project by clicking here.
Fr. Patrick and St Nicholas welcome all !
Donors Serve at the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Grace and her family had the opportunity to serve at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Grace cites this experience as amazing as she was able to reach out to the community in need. The family lent a helping hand at the church’s Soup Kitchen by assisting in meal prep and filling up care packages for the local families involved with the school. Grace praises the Parish’s welcoming and helpful presence towards the volunteers, and encourages others to donate their time, talent, and treasure at the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
You can give now to this worthy project by clicking here.
Día del Niño 2021
Solidarity Suppers never stops serving, and that includes holidays! The kitchen served over 200 meals on Day of the Child (día del niño); a holiday celebrated in Mexico. A generous supporter bought pizza and a parishioner made a Cookie Monster cake for a kid-friendly menu. The children got to partake in other fun activities such as outdoor games and playing with toys given to them by generous donors. 220 children showed up and were able to enjoy being young thanks to charitable people around the world.
You can give now to this worthy project by clicking here.
Fr. Patrick and the kids celebrated a joyful day, filled with games and activities
The children were all smiles at the event, where your donations provided food and toys
The Solidarity Supper Community Kitchen is going strong! People in Cancun are still in desperate need of hope and a meal. Fr. Patrick just sent us this video last week.
You can give now to this worthy project by clicking here.
Gospel of Peace
The Gospel of Peace Initiative in Michoacán, Mexico
The people of Michoacán are fleeing to the United States border to escape persecution and drug violence, and find safety. Bishop Javier Navarro does not want to stand idly by while his city comes to ruin.
“The people of Michoacán, Mexico constantly live in fear. Michoacán suffers from the highest rate of homicide and kidnapping in all of Mexico. The children are bought and sold by traffickers while mothers are kidnapped and abused. Leaving the house at night means risking your life. Gangs and drug cartels doing the devil’s work are gaining power.”
– Bishop Javier Navarro
But the route to flee is just as dangerous as staying home for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Gospel of Peace is an initiative to combat the violence that plagues the world starting with those in Michoacán, Mexico.
Read Bishop Navarro’s plea to Catholic World Mission to gain support for evangelization in one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico here.
“We have heroic priests and nuns fighting for our people, but it is not enough. We need more help, more foot soldiers for Christ. I have a plan, but I need your help at Catholic World Mission. Please.”
– Bishop Navarro
Bishop Navarro has met with the people of Michoacán who do not want their city to remain under the rule of the gangs and drug cartels. His plan is to promote the Gospel of Peace bringing peace and hope to men, women and children all across Mexico.
For the Gospel of Peace to prevail Bishop Navarro urgently needs funds for the formation of missionaries to spread the Gospel. The missionaries will be trained through the ETC program to be evangelizers, with the goal of keeping people in the area while creating a safe atmosphere. These missionaries will be sharing the news of Christ through their works, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, and educating and protecting the most vulnerable and the forgotten.
Already Bishop Navarro has had great interest in the Gospel of Peace. More than 100 people showed up at a Eucharistic Adoration event to pray for their city, and to learn more about being evangelizers to the people of Michoacán.
“The children here are especially at risk. In record numbers, they fall away from our Catholic faith while lured into life on the streets – joining gangs, peddling drugs and committing other harmful and unlawful acts.” – Bishop Navarro
Evangelizers at Home
In the San Francisco de Asis Catholic Church over 100 lay people came to learn how to be evangelizers in their homes, communities, and even their churches.
“People came from all over. The people are so thirsty for God’s word and for an alternative to the suffering and hopelessness of the streets. They were not afraid. We are changing hearts and minds.”
– Father Sergio, leader of the Gospel of Peace Movement at San Francisco de Asis Parish
The torch in Michoacán has been lit, but it is not enough. The Gospel of Peace must reach other parishes. Other parishes, priests and bishops have seen how contagious the Gospel of Peace movement is and they want to bring it to their parishes, diocese, and communities. There are 300 volunteers ready to be trained to be evangelizers in their communities. They are without tools though, and need guidance and strength when faced with oppression.
“Our 100 original participants have already gone out to their respective parishes, to change the hearts and minds of over 1,200 others. I am convinced now this is a fight we can win.” – Father Sergio
The Bishops have called, and shared that the Gospel of Peace has been a success in Michoacán and three more communities are ready to pick it up! They are in desperate need of hope. Not everyone wants to join drug cartels, but they need affirmation that there is a better way. Gangs are responsible for kidnapping Catholic priests, and many young people who stood up to them.
Your donation today will go to support six evangelizers and the materials to train more than 300 people to bring the Gospel of Peace to their communities.
Our Visit to Michoacán
In May 2015, Executive Director of Catholic World Mission, Deacon Rick Medina, and Operations Manager Stephanie Lange visited Michoacán, Mexico to see the need themselves. They found the situation much worse than expected, but could see that the Gospel of Peace program was making a positive, lasting impression in the hearts of so many broken people. There was still so much need, but the people inspired us to keep standing against the violence and pursecution in Mexico.
On the trip we learned the need at San Francisco de Asis convent for mattresses for the evangelizers, who stayed on urine-caked ones every month for the Gospel of Peace program. We were able to assist their need thanks to a generous donor. We were also able to begin expanding the mission to reach more people in remote areas who need the Gospel alive in their hearts and communities.
Hear the lay evangelizers give their thanks for your support below.
Building up the body of Christ: Corpus Christi Parish in Playa del Carmen
Fr. James Hogan, LC has served in Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo, Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula) for 14 years. The current population of Playa del Carmen is about 280,000, not including tourists. 64% of the population is Catholic, meaning there are about 180,000 people who need a place to worship.
Fr. James is the pastor of Corpus Christi parish. His work there is completely pastoral. He attends to the needs of families, young people, and the sick. The parish community of Corpus Christi grew into existence about nine years ago.
There are two main groups of people Fr. James ministers to: local residents who work long hours at resorts, and the tourists who visit. Because of the long shifts and long commutes to and from work, most of the parishioners who work in the resorts spend a lot of time away from their families and are unable to attend daily, or even weekly, Mass. As Fr. James pondered this problem, he was inspired to build five perpetual adoration chapels where parishioners could spend time with Jesus in the Eucharist and grow their relationship with him as their schedules permitted.
These chapels have been tremendously fruitful. Fr. James tells us, “[The fruits] are unbelievable! People are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Before they started coming to Adoration, they saw Jesus just as a picture or a statue, someone remote and far away and unfeeling. But as they spend more time with him in the chapels, they learn to see him as ‘my friend;’ they discover he is a person who loves me.”
There is an enormous need for churches, schools, classrooms, a family center, soup kitchens, etc. Fr. James is steadfastly ministering to the needs of his flock. He tells us, “We cannot attend people’s needs without a church.”
See photos of each of the five adoration chapels established by Fr. James below:
Finish church for local workers and tourists!
Corpus Christi construction is well underway. It is already 45% of the way done, and the roof is half finished as well. Fr. James and his parishioners need your help to finish their new parish home.
Take a look at the pictures below to see the progress made so far, and at the virtual renditions of what the church will look like when it is completed!
As the local people have come to know Jesus and fall more deeply in love with him, they have been inspired to help build Corpus Christi parish, both figuratively and literally. Corpus Christi parish will serve as the spiritual hub for thousands of resort employees and tourists from around the world in Playa del Carmen. It is already the place where people from all walks of life and countries of origin will get to encounter the living Jesus in a real, life-changing way.
The witness of Playa del Carmen’s residents makes a huge impact on visiting tourists. Their example of simple faith, hospitality, and generosity has impacted many visitors to deepen their own Catholic faith, and makes them realize that they, too, need a friendship with Christ. Your help is needed to finally make the plans for Corpus Christi a reality.
Click through the images below to see photos of construction progress, and virtual models of how Corpus Christi will look when it’s finished!
Give now to build a spiritual home for thousands of people
The people of Playa del Carmen have done a lot to fund the building of their church including countless fundraising events: bazaars, dinners, breakfasts, and special collections. With your gift today, you will not only evangelize internationally, but you will also help empower the people of Playa del Carmen, who are already working hard to build their church!
The residents of Playa del Carmen have raised nearly a third of the funds needed to build the church! They need your help to raise the remaining $632,000. They have shown us that with consistent effort, and a lot of faith, that when we all work together we can do great things. Here are some tangible ways you can help finish Corpus Christi parish:
- $10 provides one 50 kg bag of cement
- $50 buys 25 bricks, which are about $.50 a piece
- $162 pays for one cubic meter of concrete
- $200 pays one week’s wages for one construction worker
Great progress is being made on Corpus Christi parish. Thanks to your support, this church is getting closer to being finished every day!
Click through the photos below to see the progress.
Fr. Bernard Quinn, LC, first brought this project to us. Originally, Fr. Quinn asked us to rebuild a church in Playa de Carmen, Mexico, after it was damaged in Hurricane Wilma several years ago. What started as a restoration project for the church has expanded from disaster relief to evangelization, and education projects.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church suffered greatly when Hurricane Wilma came through. The stained glass windows were completely destroyed, and the floor and ceiling were damaged. Fr. Bernard Quinn, LC, knows the parish is important to the locals. It gives them hope and offers a place to gather strength. He worked hard to make sure that his parishioners will have a functioning church again.
Thanks to your generosity, the parish has gone through quite a few renovations recently. Donations helped repair the windows, ceiling and floors. The parish is home to 20,000 people.
A small school is located next to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
There, Fr. Quinn is always making improvements. The school next to the church serves elementary children during the day and high school students at night. Fr. Quinn actively participates in the children’s education. He wants them to be able to escape the extreme poverty they live in and not fall prey to drinking and drugs. Fr. Quinn teaches classes and advocates for providing the children with the resources they need to succeed in the classroom. His latest request helped build science and technology classrooms.
The people of Our Lady of Guadalupe live in deep poverty. This leads them to become addicted to drugs and alcohol when they feel hopeless. Unfortunately, it can begin at a very young age for some residents. Fr. Quinn is fighting to combat this trend.
The current goal is to build a new chapel on the other side of the highway for the other side of town to attend Mass. Many of the locals are Catholic but rely on walking to get anywhere, and very few people in the town have cars. The new chapel will allow those people on the other side of town to attend Mass without walking all day to get to Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is exactly the kind of thing that brings people hope and meaning to their lives.
The second church in Playa del Carmen (still to be named) is under way! The building is progressing nicely. Click through the carousel below to see photos of the construction. You can also see a photo of the outdoor pavilion where Fr. Quinn celebrates Mass until the new church is finished. Please keep this project, Fr. Quinn, and the residents of Playa del Carmen in your prayers.
Medical Mission to Chiapas
Helping Hands Medical Missions teams up with full time missionaries to offer medical relief in Chiapas, Mexico.
Medical Mission volunteers collaborated with fulltime lay missionaries, or Evangelizadores de Tiempo Completo (ETCs) on a trip this past July to offer aid to some of the poorest and most remote areas of Chiapas, Mexico. The effort was authorized by the Archbishop of Tuxtla Gutierrez and coordinated through the local parishes.
About 900 residents of Copainala, Coapilla and Ocotopec were treated by volunteer doctors, nurses and even an orthodontist. ETC and volunteer missionaries offered spiritual guidance and support for these people, many of whom are suffering due to poverty and lack of health care.
The residents were given checkups and physicals, as well as medicine and vitamins to help alleviate their most immediate and treatable ailments. Basic dental equipment was given to patients to take home.
Some of the sick who were too ill to travel received home visits
Many of the volunteers were inspired by the residents’ tremendous attitudes and resolve despite being plagued with various incurable diseases and handicaps. Along with the medical personnel, Fr. Dominic Pham, LC was also on site to offer spiritual guidance and prayer.
Much was done during just a week’s time, but it still is only a drop in the bucket. More importantly, however, is the light shed on the harsh realities that plague these areas. The knowledge of these conditions and the great need will hopefully generate more awareness and support for these people going forward. A commitment has already been made for another mission next year.