2020 Almsgiving Effort
Faithjustice invites you to read the letter from Fr. Jack Wall. He speaks to this year’s mission to build a church in Cuba from the ground up. On Ash Wednesday, tags providing the details of our 2020 Almsgiving effort will be available on bare branches in the Gathering Space. Be sure to take one and learn more!
A MEANINGFUL PARTNERSHIP: SAINT ANNE AND CATHOLIC EXTENSION The Saint Anne Catholic Community has been a dedicated and generous partner in the important work of American missions. Since Lent of 2016, you have partnered with Catholic Extension to provide over $150,000 in support of faithful communities across America. Because of you, under-resourced faith communities around America are re-imagining their futures, and in turn, hearts and families are being transformed in life-changing ways.
Catholic Extension is incredibly grateful to partner with Saint Anne once again during Lent 2020; this time, in support of a vibrant and growing parish community in the Diocese of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Saint Francis of Assisi. In November 2019, your pastor, Fr. Bernie,joined me on a meaningful immersion trip to Cuba.
It was on this trip that we had the opportunity to meet the Saint Francis of Assisi parish community. For the first time in 60 years, Cuban Catholics can rebuild churches where they can gather in faith and create communities of compassion and hope. But as it is expanding its missionary presence and much-needed social services across the island, it is severely hampered by a lack of adequate church buildings and facilities.
Saint Anne is partnering with Catholic Extension to help build a chapel for Saint Francis of Assisi parish, a dedicated, vibrant Catholic community in Calero in the Diocese of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. This Lent, Saint Anne can make a big difference for our Catholic brothers and sisters in this Cuba community.
Saint Francis of Assisi parish has been in place for over 21 years. While this parish community is without a priest, they have very dedicated laypeople and a Deacon Administrator leading most of the ministries. We had an opportunity to talk with Jose Vicente Conception, the Deacon Administrator, and many others from the parish, who described themselves as a pilgrimage church because they moved around to about 6 different places over the 21 years.
Currently, the Catholics in this community are meeting in a small “house mission” for worship and catechesis. House chapels are an adaptation of two realities in Cuba: lack of transportation to get to church, as well as a 50-year prohibition on dioceses to build new structures. These house missions, while humble in appearance, are communities of people rich in faith. They are a testament to the resilience of Cuba’s Catholics, who come together as a community of faith regardless of their lack of resources and structures.
The Saint Francis of Assisi community has been dreaming of having their own chapel for a long time. They are confident that when they build this chapel, they will have more people attending Mass, more kids in religious education and more people living out their faith. One parishioner told us that she doesn’t just dream it; she’s convinced it will be a dream come true.
Catholic Extension thanks Saint Anne Barrington for helping empower the faithful community of Saint Francis of Assisi in Cuba. Your partnership in 2020 continues a beautiful legacy of hope that has touched many people across the country. We are thrilled to share this legacy with you once again!
Rev. John J. Wall
President, Catholic Extension