For more than a generation (27 years!), the parish community of St. Joan of Arc has been blessed to journey with our Sister Parish family in Tierra Nueva Dos, a community outside of Guatemala City. Every year, a delegation has traveled from SJA to TNII, or from Guatemala to the Twin Cities, and we have shared a depth of faith and friendship that has profoundly changed many lives in the years of our relationship of solidarity.
Of course, COVID continues to upend plans for a delegation, but the good news – there is always good news! – is that we have connected regularly with our Sister Parish, thanks to Zoom and other platforms that make the world much smaller. In addition to sharing news from our communities, we get updates on several projects which we help to support, including youth scholarships for students in middle and high school, the TNII women’s group, and an annual Christmas party hosted by the youth of our Sister Parish for several hundred children in the neighboring community:
The pandemic has challenged all students and families, particularly those without devices to use for online learning, or those who are just learning technology. The scholarship committee is working with children, and coaching parents, and scholarship recipients are checking in and sharing tips together. And this fall, one of the success stories we shared together in a celebratory Zoom call was Brandon’s graduation! Brandon will continue to be a liaison with fellow scholarship students.
2020 started with promise, but all classes and gatherings were suspended in February. The women’s group offers vital companionship as well as educational and entrepreneurial opportunities to many in TNII who are isolated without it. The group expressed their thanks for the creativity, strength and mutual support shown by leaders Marleny, Eluvia and Albertina, who supported other women and their whole community, including emergency food distribution that our SJA Sister Parish committee helped to fund.
CHILDREN'S CHRISTMAS PARTY
It was challenging to plan a safe party for 250 kids – especially when 390 showed up! Masks were provided and everyone received a gift or at least some candy, and the party was a huge success.
Please contact Julie Madden to learn more about our Sister Parish relationship. And check out some photos from Christmas in TNII!