Tag: Church of the Risen Christ

Aug 7 2009

°Hola, mis amigos!

By Cassie Wright

Wow … we just got back from our mission awareness trip to Guatemala a couple of days ago. (ìWeî being my parents, a group of teens and adults from the Church of the Risen Christ parish in Denver, Colo., and myself.) Before we left, I thought about what I wanted to get out of the trip. I really had no idea what to expect, except that we were going to be going to a very poor country, and I wanted to keep an open mind so that I could experience everything to its fullest. In the end, I decided that my goal was to see how different cultures interact with each other, as well as to learn about the culture and people of the country. I had no idea what an eye-opening, educational and wonderful experience this trip would be!

After we arrived in Guatemala City, we drove about three hours to San Lucas Tolim·n. During the drive, it was almost a culture shock going from our air-conditioned houses in Denver, to seeing banks guarded by men with guns in Guatemala City, down to the little shacks that people call home in each of the cities we passed.

Cassie, her parents and Maria, the woman her mother sponsors

Cassie, her parents and Maria, the woman her mother sponsors

The staff at CFCA in San Lucas Tolim·n was extremely friendly and accommodating to our group. They made us feel like one of the family at once. On our first day of work, we took a boat to Santiago Atitl·n, the city where we helped build a house. Walking up the streets of Santiago and looking at all of the stores and homes, I realized just how poverty-stricken the country is. At the same time, I realized how incredibly wealthy the people are through their relationships with their families and with one another. Back at home, itís so easy to get attached to your Blackberry, iPod and other gadgets that you neglect your relationships with the people around you and with your family. One thing that really stood out to me was that everyone was so incredibly happy even though they had little money and next to nothing by ways of physical possessions. What they do have is an exceptionally deep understanding of how their communities work, as well as a connection with the people around them.

When I was packing my suitcase at CFCA in San Lucas Tolim·n, I was truly embarrassed by the amount of physical possessions I had in one suitcase. While packing for the trip, I was fretting about which pair of pants I wanted to sacrifice as work pants. After being at the work site for four days, the pants I wore really did not matter. What did matter is that I spent an invaluable amount of time with my parents.

Cassie and her parents standing outside the house they helped build in Guatemala.

Cassie and her parents standing outside the house they helped build in Guatemala.

I also realized that happiness does not depend on the newest electronic device that I just bought. Happiness is strengthening the relationships around me. This trip has really got me thinking about the amount of ìstuffî around my home that I do not need. In the next couple of months, my goal is to purge myself of things that I donít need and donít use. Also, I really want to strengthen my relationships with the people that mean the most to me.

Related links:
Generosity will bring joy
Building a foundation

Jul 24 2009

Generosity will bring joy

By Richard Swan, CFCA sponsor

This will be the fourth year in a row that youth from our parish, Church of the Risen Christ in Denver, Colo., will be going to Guatemala. This year, we opened the trip up to the entire parish, and we have 18 adults joining 14 teens to build a home in Santiago. Each participant sponsors a child or aging person in Guatemala and will get to meet and spend time with their sponsored friend.

Each year, our parish has been very supportive of CFCA sponsorship and generous with financial donations and other items to take to the children and families in San Lucas Toliman.

At all Masses during one weekend in June, we asked for help to cover the cost of building materials for the house, estimated by CFCA to be about $3,500. In that one weekend, we collected more than enough to build the house. As a result of the generosity of fellow parishioners, one family will get to experience the joy of having a new home. The parish staff also approved giving the childrenís collections from all Masses as a gift to the CFCA Birthday and Christmas Fund. The children of our parish gave $800 to that special fund. What joy hundreds of children will experience because of the generosity of the children of our parish.

New Spanish books for children in GuatemalaBut the generosity doesnít end there! One parishioner purchased over $1,200 of new Spanish books for us to give to the school in San Lucas. We hope the joy of having those books will be felt for years to come. Another parishioner donated 35 pairs of new, protective goggles for the work site. A women’s group at our parish made more than 150 rosaries to take on our trip. We also received 35 soccer balls, youth and high school soccer jerseys, shoes and warm-up suits. Those will bring joy to a lot of children who love playing soccer. And, at Vacation Bible School, parish children made little stuffed turtles with notes in Spanish that tell the children in Guatemala that “God loves you.” Joy, pure and simple!

Soccer suppliesGenerosity begets more generosity. As others heard about our trip, more donations kept coming in, and we will be able to help the San Lucas Mission continue many life-giving projects. Some parishioners accepted our invitation to pay for some of the more expensive parts of the home, such as doors and windows. This week we received a donation of 230 new Colorado T-shirts, with sizes ranging from toddler to adult.

The people of San Lucas and Guatemala will see the generosity of their friends in Denver and Colorado. And we will see the joy on their faces. But the greatest gift of all will be just being with the people, or as CFCA says it, walking with the poor. From Colorado to Guatemala, GENEROSITY will bring JOY.

The group from the Church of the Risen Christ leaves today for Guatemala. We wish them a safe and wonderful trip.

Related links:
Two parishes receive 2009 CFCA Pilgrimage of Faith Award
Read an update about their trip to Guatemala here and here