Christ Our Peace Parish - Guatemala
The St. Paul Parish Human Concerns effort began its relationship with the people of Guatemala in March, 1994 by working through the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee. With their assistance, St. Paul Parish began its relationship with Parroquia Cristo Nuestra Paz (Christ Our Peace Parish) in Guatemala City and the Hogares Santa Maria de Guadalupe orphanage in Santa Apolonia, Guatemala.
The goal of the Guatemala Solidarity effort is to establish a "true church" between the parishes of St. Paul and Cristo Nuestra Paz. It is through this true church that we strive to increase the spiritual faith and sense of community of our respective congregations as we grow together in Christ.
Another goal of the Guatemala Solidarity effort is to provide economic support for the community programs undertaken by Parroquia Cristo Nuestra Paz and for the mission work being done in Guatemala by the School Sisters of St. Francis, especially the Hogares Santa Maria de Guadalupe Orphanage.
The Archbishop of Guatemala established Parroquia Cristo Nuestra Paz in May, 1985 to serve the people in the colonies of Juana de Arco, Limón and Sta. Elena in Zona 18 of Guatemala City.
Not only does Cristo Nuestra Paz minister to more than 50,000 people in these colonies, it also has an outreach program for the people in the settlements of Candelaria, and Italia.
Some of Christ Our Peace outreach programs are:
- Dental Clinic
- Medical Clinic
- Counseling Program for domestic abuse
- Children’s Educational Program
- Food Program
- Sewing School
- Typing School
- Nursing School
Our Milwaukee area sister parish, St. Michael's, is a Catholic Parish located at 1445 N. 24th Street in the central city area of Milwaukee. The members of St. Michael's are quite diverse: Hmong, Laotian, Latino and African American. Many of the people of St. Michael's have recently come to the US or are the first generation of their family to be in the US. The languages of Laotian, Hmong, and Spanish are heard and spoken as often as English.
Many parishioners of St. Michael's are economically stressed. To provide assistance, the pastoral staff has pursued programs which focus on self-empowerment. For example, the Good Samaritan Home Ownership program has helped over 370 low-income families participate in home-ownership. An education advocacy program is also in place. Fr. Dennis Lewis, Pastor of St. Michael's Parish, also serves as chair of a non-profit group called ACTS (Allied Churches Teaching Self Empowerment -- the only church-formed non-profit organization in the Diocese of Milwaukee.)
What we share in common with the parishioners of St. Michael's is being part of vibrant, growing communities, filled with faith and love of the Lord. Members of St. Paul Parish who have participated in special liturgies at St. Michael Parish on either the Feast Day of St. Michael or Palm Sunday can attest to the very rich faith experience at St. Michael's. These liturgies are celebrated in the four languages of the parishes, English, Spanish, Lao and Hmong. There are prayers, readings and songs in each of the languages. We believe both parishes have been blessed by opportunities to share our faith journey together.
Examples of our outreach with St. Michael's parish include the following:
As we continue and expand our relationship, we welcome and encourage more involvement with St. Paul parishioners. For information on how you can join in this outreach, please contact our parish office at 968-3865.
- co-hosting an egg roll dinner at St. Paul's
- participation in a Women's retreat
- St. Paul's youth assistance in St. Michael's religious education (First Communion preparation)
- sharing of immigration stories of St. Michael's parishioners at St. Paul's family program, and youth Religious Ed program
- sharing of job leads/employment opportunities
- access to legal services based on ability to pay
- sharing of resources through the Christmas Giving Tree
Our brothers and sisters at St. Michael's have told us we are always welcome to join them in the celebration of Mass. Sunday Masses at St. Michael Parish are usually 9:00 AM and 12:00 Noon; the special liturgies described above are at 10:30 AM.
To reach St. Michael's from Genesee Depot, take I-94 east to I-43 north in Milwaukee. Stay in the left hand lane and exit at Fond du Lac Ave. At the stoplight, turn left onto Walnut Street. Go east to 24th Street. Turn left again and St. Michael Church is 3 blocks ahead on the right (you can't miss the huge steeple.)
Our brothers and sisters say "We look forward to welcoming you! Bienvenida! Zoo siab txais!"
Reformation Lutheran Church
Our ecumenical involvement began in 1997 with Reformation Lutheran Church located at 35th and Garfield in Milwaukee, WI. Reformation Lutheran Church owns and operates the "Neighborhood Store". It is staffed by some paid employees as well as by volunteers from various parishes. St. Paul Parish provides volunteers for this store during the first weekend of every month. St. Paul Religious Education Students accompanied by adult volunteers, bake cookies in the parish kitchen and transport them to the "Neighborhood Store" so that customers can have a snack to eat at the store's coffee shop. The items for sale in the store are sold for nominal fees. The proceeds are used to educate the people in the neighborhood and to help fund various outreach programs sponsored by Reformation Lutheran Church.
Each December there is a wonderful program called Advent Adventure. St Paul youth and Reformation Lutheran Church youth make and create Christmas gifts for family members. Cookies are decorated, tiles are painted and presents are wrapped. Everyone works together in the spirit of Christ and His gospel message.
During Advent, St. Paul Parish Giving Tree Program provides gifts to the youth of Reformation Lutheran Church.
Every June, some of the members of Reformation Lutheran Church celebrate Mass together with the Parish of St. Paul. After Mass, food and games are enjoyed at the Parish Festival.
Donations are always welcome. Gently used items such as household goods (pots and pans), toys, working appliances, working automobiles and food are always welcome. Monetary donations are always needed. If you are able to donate, please contact the parish office at 968-3865.