During these challenging times, many have set aside other objectives to focus on their own needs. But friends of Cross Catholic Outreach — people like you — took a different path. Knowing that families in developing communities were suffering during the pandemic — and often faced even greater hardships than we have in the U.S. — you went above and beyond in your giving, standing by the poor and strengthening those in need.
One example is in the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima in Guatemala, where your compassion protected lives and encouraged faith at an hour of desperate need. These gifts did more than meet material needs. Your compassion restored hope among those who needed it most.
Guatemala has an under-equipped health care system, so its poor were hit hard by COVID-19. In an effort to control the spread of the virus, the government mandated a stringent lockdown. Unfortunately, this increased the pressures facing the poor. It prevented many people from going to work and limited the transportation of necessary supplies, most importantly, food. In the city, families waved white flags as a symbol of hunger and desperation. In smaller villages, poor households had even fewer options. Isolated and starving, many families felt they had no place to turn for help.
With your support, Bishop Bernabe Sagastume and Father Raúl Monterroso coordinated the distribution of 3,500 food hampers to hungry people in 21 parishes. Priests from each parish collected hampers at the Caritas warehouse and received food in their villages. Each hamper contained a one-month supply of staples, such as corn, beans, rice, noodles, sugar, coffee, salt, oil, soap and Incaparina (a protein-rich, vegetable-based food developed to address nutritional deficiencies).
It was especially meaningful for families to receive this assistance through the Church during a time when parishioners could not gather in person. These distributions were a beautiful symbol of Catholic unity, and they delivered a bright testimony of hope to families on the brink of starvation.
Related: Catholicism in Guatemala
Marta Luz, 72, was just one of the villagers blessed by the food you provided. As a single mother who raised five children, Marta has worked hard all of her life. To this day, she still continues to help support her daughters and five grandchildren by selling food and used clothing — all while caring for her brother, José, who is 90 years old and in poor health.
The pandemic impacted Marta’s family severely, prohibiting them from traveling to sell clothes and leaving them with barely enough food to eat. Marta feared for the health of her grandchildren, as well as her brother who needs the nutrients to maintain his strength.
The food you purchased arrived just in time and saved her family from hunger. It also restored their hope and joy. Marta says her “faith grows again” thanks to God and his miraculous provision through you!
The Church continues to have a tremendous effect on impoverished communities around the world, but it needs support to provide that blessing. You gave that support, and it has provided poor families with many specific examples of God’s love. This year, local students are rejoicing about new educational opportunities. Families can give thanks for full plates of food. Hospital patients have a reason to praise God for providing lifesaving medical equipment and health supplies.
While this has been a fearful year for many — especially those who already lacked access to life’s basic necessities — there is a new sense of hope rising up in these communities. Just as their hardships had intensified to a breaking point, you showed them God was aware of their plight and would love them through the outreaches of the Church. In a very real sense, your faithfulness became a priceless reminder that God would never forsake them.
Through you, thousands of people in Guatemala have received a tangible expression of our Heavenly Father’s compassionate provision for his children in need. His love is visible and apparent in the life-giving gifts you have given.
Related: Our 2020 Vision for Guatemala
Every month (on the 25th)
Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2021, the close of our ministry’s new fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.