World Water Day 2022: Fighting the Global Water Crisis Through Catholic Missions

On my first trip to the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima, I had no idea what God had in store for me. My simple intent was to learn more about a disaster relief project we’d collaborated on with the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. But God was working behind the scenes to accomplish something much more profound. 

Jim in the field

Though I didn’t know it then, Cross Catholic Outreach was actually in Santa Rosa by divine appointment — and we would soon play a critical role in helping the diocese overcome an incredible challenge.

God’s first step was to introduce me to Bishop Bernabe Sagastume and Father Raul Moterroso. These two humble Catholic leaders demonstrated a clear passion for social outreaches that integrated material aid with intentional Catholic spiritual formation — a mission that matched the very approach we strive to promote around the world. From that divine appointment, a bond of friendship was formed and Cross Catholic Outreach launched its own housing project in the diocese.

The second divine appointment occurred on my visit to review the status of that project. Through it, I learned the diocese had great potential to help the poor, but it also lacked key resources to accomplish its goals. The Bishop and Fr. Raul were great leaders, but they were facing financial roadblocks and desperately needed a warehouse and help with shoring up their charitable infrastructure. I returned to America intent on finding a way to help them.

It was through the third divine appointment that I learned God’s plan, and I was awed by the miracle he had orchestrated. As I told Fr. Raul that I felt called to initiate a major effort to help the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima, and that I would make a significant financial pledge to his efforts for the poor, he appeared shell-shocked. On that day, he told me, he had thought all was lost. He had already laid off his Caritas staff and had expected to resign himself. All of his wonderful outreaches to the poor would be closed down because they had no financial resources to sustain them.

I knew in that instant why God had sent me to Santa Rosa. This was a ministry the Lord would rescue through Cross Catholic Outreach! And I knew you would feel that way too.

Though a financial crisis had dealt a major blow to Bishop Sagastume’s and Father Raul’s efforts to serve poor families living in rural mountain villages, God had placed us in the perfect position to help in an hour of need. We have already been blessed with early successes as a result, and we expect greater things to come.

Now you can see why this special campaign means so much to me. God is directing it!