Sylvia Morales and her granddaughters Antonia and Sylvia are filled with joy at the prospect of receiving a sturdy home to keep them safe and dry.

Build Sturdy Homes and Restore Hope

In Guatemala, nearly 60% of people live in poverty, and nearly half of children under age 5 are malnourished (CIA World Factbook and The World Bank). Many of these poor families in remote villages also live in unsafe homes constructed from palm branches, scraps of wood and deteriorated metal sheets. During rainstorms, the roofs of these fragile homes often leak, turning their dirt floors into mud.

It’s a tragic situation — but there is hope!

Last year, compassionate Catholics like you helped build 59 safe homes through the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu’s housing ministry. This year — with your help — we can build on that success by providing safe homes to 64 additional families. We also will expand other ministries to reach families with agricultural support, nutritious meals, educational scholarships and more. By working together, the Catholics can give these precious people a solid foundation for building a brighter future.

Give now and help poor families rise up with joy!

Your support will provide these faith-filled families with a sturdy new home and a strong foundation, inspiring them to rise up with joy!

The Need for Safe Shelter in Guatemala

Parents in rural Guatemala are either subsistence farmers who struggle to grow enough food to feed their children or day laborers who work long hours on local farms earning no more than $10 a day. The lack of income results in families living in flimsy, makeshift homes that create hardships like these:

  • Health Threats: Exposure to wind, rain and cold causes frequent respiratory ailments and pneumonia. Dirt floors bring harmful parasites, leading to anemia and diarrhea.
  • Animal Attacks: Snakes, rats, scorpions and other vermin easily enter and can attack.

Low Self-Esteem: Constant threats increase anxiety, impede sleep and wear away one’s sense of dignity.

Weather Damage: Storms can rip off unstable roofs or flood interiors.

With such little money, creating sturdy homes is out of the question. Families must make do with what they have, patching inferior materials together and cramming too many people into too small shelters.

When we come together to build safe homes, we will empower these poor families and help them Rise Up With Joy!

Meet Our Ministry Partner

Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu

Poor families in Guatemala are experiencing Jesus’ love through the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu! Bishop Pablo Vizcaíno Prado is committed to developing close relationships with the poor so they can be equipped “to build their own futures.” To accomplish that, the bishop believes his outreaches should offer spiritual and material blessings.

He is committed to following the model of Jesus, who “searched for the poorest.” Rather than simply addressing the situations that come to them, the diocese’s Caritas outreach team travels up to two hours on extremely rough dirt roads to reach remote villages in order to build relationships with those in need.

Through the support of compassionate Catholics like you, the diocese has been able to empower local families with small-group faith formation, home construction, food relief, agricultural training, academic scholarships and solar-powered community water systems.

Marleny and her daughters are grateful for their new concrete-block home, built next to their old makeshift home. For the first time, they have windows, a lockable door and a cement floor.

Goals for this Outreach

Providing Safe Shelter for Families

With your help, we can build 64 safe homes in partnership with the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu. Each of these new homes will feature:

  • A 338-sq.-ft. floor plan, with two bedrooms and a common area that is a dining room and living room.
  • Concrete walls and flooring and a galvanized metal roof.
  • A secure metal door and shuttered windows.
  • A sanitary latrine to promote hygiene and dignity.
A mother and her two sons work in a field of healthy green crops.


Our outreach supports an agriculture ministry that helps 400 families cultivate small fields of crops and home gardens.

A mother cooking over an outdoor stove scoops a rice-based meal into a child’s bowl.


We will ship over 1 million Vitafood meals to the diocese this year, providing nutritious meals for hungry children.

A teen-age girl in a school uniform sits in a chair at school and smiles.


Our friends offer scholarships and other educational programs to help 55 children attend school and pursue a better future.

The Alvarez Family Needs Your Help

Nilson and Deini Alvarez pray daily for strength as they try to keep their 3-year-old son safe from the scorpions, snakes and rats that find their way into their flimsy home.

“Always, always, we have animals crawling around,” Nilson said.

Like many families in rural Guatemala, the Alvarezes live in a one-room home constructed from old wooden planks and palm tree branches. In addition to letting in dangerous vermin, the many openings in this makeshift house allow rain to stream inside, turning the dirt floor into mud. They worry because their son, Mario, constantly has a fungus between his toes from walking barefoot through the mud inside the home.

A mother, father and their young son stand inside their home with a dirt floor while sunshine comes through the large cracks in the walls.

Sunlight shines through cracks in the Alvarez home. But on rainy days, water streams in and turns the dirt floor to mud.

As subsistence farmers, Nilson and Deini can barely grow enough food to support themselves and could never afford to build a secure home. But that hasn’t stopped them from praying to God for help, and their hope in the Lord remains strong.

“We ask God to send people with good hearts,” Nilson said.

This Advent, you can change the lives of the Alvarez family and other Guatemalans with safe shelter. Give now!

Help Families Rise Up

Poor families in rural Guatemala are overcoming their daily challenges — leaky homes, hungry stomachs, back-breaking labor — because they know God wants a better future for them. Their joy is rising because life-transforming ministries are now reaching their remote villages. Your generous donation will help the Church expand its outreaches so more families can Rise Up With Joy!

What Is Your Legacy Mission?

When you include Cross Catholic Outreach as a beneficiary in your will, trust, retirement account or life insurance policy, you will make a difference for poor communities by meeting both material and spiritual needs for generations to come. Create Your Legacy!

Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s 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.