I gave the seed money to Fr. Marcelo, and we met with 2 people in Chontal to start the ball rolling. It will take some time and a bit of resources. (Very often there are no resources for these things, and what may seem to us to be the simplest first steps stall out because of that. That initial money should be able to "grease the skids" so to speak, eliminate those first obstacles for the program to advance.)
The plan was, starting with Chontal, to join together certain people of faith who are interested in and/or have experience with spiritual and/or social outreach, and form a group ministry. Three people who have experience are willing to form and be a part of it. What I particularly like is that the priest is interested in coordinating both the spiritual and material: one of the woman is very good at visiting and praying with seniors (she has taken up the Divine Mercy devotion full-time), I like her approach to it; while another young woman has a great deal of social experience with seniors; I accompanied her into the mountains visiting seniors a few years ago, she is excellent with the social dimension. The goal is to be a parish program (Chontal is one of 13 communities in the parish), including people from other communities. At first, the focus is to organize and take a first step with the goods that were donated during the Christmas Mass... There is another dimension that is helpful, in that the neighboring parish, Garcia Moreno, has a very developed program that is similar. The reason is that, until 6 years ago, Chontal's parish, Los Manduriacus, was a part of Garcia Moreno. So its structures are just beginning, but it has a form of a model in Garcia Moreno.
So, there is the backing from the priest and me, the desire and capability of several people, an example in the neighboring parish, and some financing. It has potential.
So, thank you again for donating! This will be the last update that I post to the fundraiser. If I have any more news on the new outreach ministry, I will post it on the website here: www.barriers2bridges.org
Have a wonderful year, stay in touch and drop a note anytime, and check out the website where you can sign up at any time for automatic updates.
We raised $325, after fees. Thanks for so much generosity!
The first $200 went to buy 200 Navidades, which were delivered already made several days before Christmas: