Our Sister Parish
In 2004, our parish entered into a partnership with San José Villanueva located in La Libertad, El Salvador.. This partnership is primarily a spiritual joining of two equal parishes praying for each other and learning from each other.
The idea of a creating a relationship between a parish in El Salvador and St. Joseph began in 2003. Fr. Bob was involved with an orphanage in Zaragoza called The Community of Oscar A. Romero (COAR). In 2004, Father suggested some of the parishioners accompany him on a mission trip to El Salvador.
At the time, the local priest, Fr. Mario, celebrated Mass beneath a strip of corrugated metal, propped up by sticks. Touched by their devotion and obvious needs, a partnership was created between our parish and the Catholic community of San José Villanueva. As a result, the parishioners of St. Joseph have provided that community with a small concrete chapel and several gifts to furnish it.
Today, a committee of 26 members, led by coordinator Dolores Downey, supports the sister parish partnership, which is both spiritual and financial. In 2009, the parish provided 100 students in El Salvador with one-year scholarships. It costs $100 for an elementary school student to attend school for one year and $125 for a high school or college student.
Our parish has served the people of this large parish in El Salvador in a host of ways. We’ve offered them our prayers and our financial support. We’ve been able to raise money for school scholarships for the children. We’ve helped them improve their parish facilities, and some of our financial support has even enabled the building of a chapel out in the rural areas – where the people haven’t been able to celebrate Mass for months and even years at a time.
St. Joseph parishioners are invited to join in solidarity with the people of San José in any of the following ways:
- Become a Prayer partner with a San José family
- Become an Education partner by sponsoring a child in grade school, high school, or university
- Become part of the planning committee to assist with promotion and development of the partnership
- Visit San José as part of a parish group
Please contact our trip coordinator to learn more about San José Villanueva and what you can do to help.
Every year, our parish sends thousands of dollars to our sister parish in El Salvador. Imagine being able to see firsthand how that money is being used and the people it is going to help.
In addition to visiting the newly built chapel nearby, parishioners will have the opportunity to meet many of the students we sponsor. The trip will cost around $1000, which covers airfare, food, lodging, and transportation in El Salvador.
I enjoyed it so much. The people were so poor, but were so warm and welcoming. They had a sense of prayer that was deep and touching.” — Helen Yurek
We have so much in this country. The El Salvadorian people don’t even eat meat for years at a time. In fact, their daily diet would be considered by many of us as torturous.” — Dee Downey
Perspective & Insights
Neither Fr. Mario, nor any of his parishioners, takes their freedoms or blessings for granted. They also take wonderful responsibility for taking care of the poorest among them. We visited people with only polluted river water to drink, little food for their family, a piece of corrugated tin for a roof, and if they have work, making perhaps $5 a day or less, laboring in the fields for a landowner from dawn to dusk. Many have no document of birth, so they cannot marry officially, cannot own land, cannot leave the country, etc.
As we celebrate our freedoms, we pray for our sisters and brothers in El Salvador who have so little, but are so grateful and joyful.