Dear Mission Friends,
For 44 years, our Dominican Mission Foundation has been providing spiritual, medical, material, and social care for the native people of our mission areas around the globe. This work is possible thanks in great part to the help we receive through the mission appeals offered by dioceses such as yours. With this letter, we are requesting inclusion in your 2009 Mission Cooperation Plan.
Our most recent mission endeavor is in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, (across the border from El Paso, Texas) at the Casa del Migrante, where our Dominican Friars and Sisters provide shelter, food, clothing, and medical care for immigrants coming from southern Mexico to work in the factories of Ciudad Juarez, as well as to assist those who are deported from the United States. The staff is available 24 hours a day, to assist them in putting their lives together. When the cold, hungry, sick, and injured arrive at the Casa del Migrante, we recall the words of Jesus, “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me.” (Matthew 25).
In Africa, our Friars in Kenya incorporate Dominican traditions as they continue to build up St. Catherine of Siena Parish through liturgy and worship. Our Dominicans also minister on two of Nairobi University’s seven campuses. Rampant poverty, an unstable political scene, and AIDS overwhelm and devastate Kenya. We maintain our programs to feed the poor and sick, help those with AIDS, and provide spiritual and material assistance to countless families in need.
We continue our ministry in Chiapas, Mexico, where our Mission Team is responsible for the largest Catholic parish in the world, serving the poorest and most oppressed people of Mexico: the Tzeltal Indians. Over 200,000 people in 1,000 indigenous communities are served. We support two parishes, two human rights centers, a women’s center, and Hospital San Carlos, which serves 15,000 patients annually, primarily Tzeltal Indians. The Catholic faith is growing deeper in the life and culture of the Mayan people, through our work of evangelization, the celebration of the sacraments, and catechesis by 1,000 Mayan catechists. Mediation, reconciliation, and the reconstruction of peace are a primary focus.
Our Dominican Friars and Sisters in Mexicali, Mexico, work together to build up community in one of the poorest areas of the diocese. With the participation and enthusiasm of the community, we constructed four small churches. Home visits and a food subsidy program are provided for the elderly, sick, poor, and abandoned. Ministry among youth, choir, and liturgy groups continues to flourish. We have a permanent presence in the community, with our recently constructed Dominican parish house, and now have the capacity to expand our missionary team with more full-time, visiting, and seminarian missionaries.
Our missionary endeavors in Guatemala continue throughout 38 mountain villages: building adobe chapels for the celebration of the sacraments, constructing wells for water, sustaining a Maya/Achi bi-lingual school, providing scholarships for students studying nursing and computers, and maintaining sewing and weaving projects. Evangelization and the defense of human rights are central to our work.
In Lithuania, our missionaries continue to rebuild, spiritually and physically, a people and a country that were debilitated by 50 years under communism. That our faith endured, under such atrocious conditions, is a marvel of survival. This Eastern European mission in Vilnius is one of our most difficult challenges, and one that our mission team has embraced with great faith.
Finally, our support extends to the lepers of the Tala Leper Colony in the Philippines, where Filipino Dominican Friars and Sisters administer the Holy Rosary Schools, which provide a free Catholic education from elementary school through college for lepers and children of lepers. This education is geared towards the total development of students’ physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual needs and is rooted in Catholic faith, teachings, and values. Graduates of the college have gone on to become community leaders and many have returned to teach at the school, where most of the faculty members are its graduates.
Thank you for your part in supporting our Dominican Missionaries so that they may continue to bring healing, help, hope, and the Gospel into the lives of those we serve in Mexico, Guatemala, Kenya, Lithuania, and the Philippines.
Dominican Mission Foundation Home