A mom and her two teenage children stand in front of a dilapidated home in Guatemala.
The Lopez family stands in front of their home, a one-room shack in no condition to shelter the family from outside dangers.

Sheltering Families in Guatemala

Families in the remote villages of Guatemala face extreme hardships. They live in flimsy homes, lack adequate food, struggle to access health care, and have no money to educate their children. Working as subsistence farmers or low-paid day laborers, the parents of these families simply don’t have the resources necessary to escape poverty and build a better life. Family income in the area typically ranges between $125 and $190 a month.

Juan Lopez is in this position, and his family’s struggles are heartbreaking. Juan and his eldest son, Leonardo, work long, tiresome days to try and make ends meet for their family. While they work hard, they return home at night with only $10 combined for the day’s labor. These meager earnings barely cover basic needs and prevent the family from making repairs to their home, let alone building a new one. As a result, they remain at the mercy of inclement weather, dangerous wildlife, and the diseases that accompany such threats.

That’s why Cross Catholic Outreach is continuing our partnership with the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu, so this mission of mercy can expand and reach more families in remote villages that are far from urban areas or even paved roads. Bishop Pablo Vizcaíno Prado believes in offering impoverished families much more than handouts. Caritas, the social outreach arm of the diocese, believes in integral human development — an approach to helping the poor that provides both spiritual and material support.

“We try to change their entire lives,” Bishop Vizcaíno said.

Since our partnership with the diocese began in 2018, compassionate U.S. Catholics have been joining Cross Catholic Outreach in providing the holistic support Bishop Vizcaíno describes. Individuals and parishes nationwide have time and again shown tremendous generosity and put their faith in action, helping shelter those in need. By participating in this profound work of mercy, communities have been drawn together out of love for the poor.

When we support Caritas in its expansion of existing ministries, even more families will be blessed in nine rural villages, and new, urgently needed ministries will continue to be added. Caritas’ housing outreach includes the building of 64 stormproof homes to benefit 317 residents. The cost to build a home is $10,938, and each concrete-block home will include a metal roof, a door that locks, shuttered windows, and a sanitary latrine.

We are asking parishes to consider partnering in this profound work of mercy so poor families can experience the blessing of a safe home. Learn more about how you can get involved today!