Community Ministry Connection: Global Solidarity – Chiapas, Mexico and Padibe, Uganda

Each month the Human Concerns Committee will highlight the work of a community organization doing outstanding ministry in the city of Milwaukee.

Our October 2021 partner is Global Solidarity: Chiapas, Mexico and Padibe, Uganda! Through the Family of Four Parishes’ Missionary Cooperation Plan, parishioners are invited to greater global solidarity by learning about and supporting our sister parishes of San Ildefonso Parish in Chiapas, Mexico and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Padibe, Uganda.

Missionary Cooperation Plan: Global Solidarity

As Catholics in the U.S., we are members of a universal Church that transcends national boundaries and we thus face special responsibilities, especially in times of global changes and challenges. The Church’s teaching on international justice and peace calls us to live in solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world, thereby becoming truly “catholic” parishes.

What is “global solidarity” and why is it important?  According to the USCCB:

“Solidarity is action on behalf of the one human family, calling us to help overcome the divisions in our world. Solidarity binds the rich to the poor. It makes the free zealous for the cause of the oppressed. It drives the comfortable and secure to take risks for the victims of tyranny and war. It calls those who are strong to care for those who are weak and vulnerable across the spectrum of human life. It opens homes and hearts to those in flight from terror and to migrants whose daily toil supports affluent lifestyles.” https://www.usccb.org/resources/called-global-solidarity-international-challenges-us-parishes

Each Catholic parish has the important role to challenge and encourage every parishioner to greater global solidarity.  Therefore, a Missionary Cooperation Plan (MCP) is in place throughout each Diocese to connect the local Church (each parish) with the global Church (via missionaries).  Through the MCP of the Family of Four, parishioners are invited to learn about and support mission work at our sister parishes in Chiapas, Mexico and Padibe, Uganda.

Overarching Mission of our Partnership with Chiapas and Padibe Sister Parishes

The mission of the partnerships with our sister parishes – San Ildefonso Parish in Chiapas, Mexico and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Padibe, Uganda – is to share our faith and our community; build solidarity with other disciples of Jesus, particularly the poor; and to share our gifts with our friends in the Chiapas and Padibe parishes to provide for basic human needs.

Mission of our Partnership with San Ildefonso Parish in Chiapas, Mexico

To commemorate our centennial as a parish, Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Milwaukee and the San Ildefonso Parish in Chiapas, Mexico entered into partnership in 1989 (one of the first parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to strike up such a connection) to share our faith, share a community, and share our gifts. We’ve come to learn how closely our prayers, liturgies, songs, sacramental rituals, and parish traditions resemble theirs. This friendship allows us to experience the universality of our faith.

Chiapas seems far away, but we’ve come to know our sister parishioners and hold them in our hearts. Community is a central element of faith; not even Jesus lived his faith alone. In building solidarity with other disciples of Jesus–particularly the poor–we are carrying out the mission Jesus imparted to the first disciples.

San Ildefonso, while rich in faith and love, lacks many of the material advantages we enjoy. Over the years we have shared generously with our friends in Chiapas. But sharing from our wealth is no mere gesture of charity: it is an act of conversion. When we invest in friendship and solidarity with other disciples of Jesus, we make a fundamental change in the way we view our lives, our purpose, our place in the world.

About Chiapas, Mexico

San Ildefonso is a parish like ours with a central church building, but it also serves about 90 communities dotting the high mountain ranges of central Chiapas, Mexico. Chiapas is a southern Mexican state bordering Guatemala.

Most of the parishioners are indigenous peoples descended from the Mayans. They dress in colorful, hand-woven garments and speak Tzeltal, a Mayan language from ancient times. Most are subsistence farmers, living off the beans and corn they scrape from the rocky soil; a lucky few prosper on hillsides that are perfect for growing coffee.

To Support this Community Ministry Connection

Plan to visit Tenejapa, Chiapas, Mexico to engage in fellowship and worship with our friends from our sister parish.

Purchase coffee grown in Chiapas. We will be starting up our sales once again! Once a month after all Masses we sell coffee grown in Chiapas and roasted by Colectivo here in Milwaukee. Proceeds go to support our sister parish. An act of faith in every cup!

Attend the Chiapas Chili Cook-Off. This annual event, held each winter, celebrates our relationship with San Ildefonso. In the past we have gathered in the Cramer Fiesta Hall to sample top chili recipes from Saints Peter and Paul parishioners. Proceeds go to support San Ildefonso.

Meet Padre Tonio. The pastor of San Ildefonso regularly visits Saints Peter and Paul to share news of life in his parish and worship with us.

Make a Donation. If you’d like to donate online, please visit https://spof-mke.givingfuel.com/parroquia-de-san-ildefonso-chiapas. Or please feel free to drop a contribution in the collection basket or send it to the parish office. Please make checks out to “SS Peter & Paul” but mark the check or the envelope “Chiapas.”

For more information or how to get involved, contact Rick Sankovitz at 414-651-1894 or ricksankovitz@gmail.com or Laura Hancock, Director of Social Justice and Outreach, at 414-271-6577 or lhancock@ffpmke.org.

Learn more at http://ssppmilw.org/sister-parish.

Mission of our Partnership with Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Padibe, Uganda

Three Holy Women Parish in Milwaukee and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Padibe, Uganda formed a partnership in 2008 to: celebrate the bonds of common human experience; help with child and adult education; and provide for basic human needs.  Some of the projects we’ve partnered on include clean water, a sunflower press, education scholarships, cultural revival since the end of the civil war, farming, and more.

About Padibe, Uganda

Padibe is a town in northern Uganda.  This area suffered from the Lord’s Resistance Army who kidnapped and tortured children, turning the boys into soldiers and the girls into “wives”, along with other atrocities that destroyed their culture. Thousands of people were massacred, and 35,000 children were abducted.  For 20 years, the Acholi people of Padibe lived in refugee camps placed around town.

A whole generation of young people grew up in severely overcrowded refugee camps rampant with infectious diseases, and during this time so much of their culture was lost, forgotten, or never passed on to the next generation. As a result, one of the purposes of parishioner activity has been helping the Acholi people rebuild their culture. The mission of the Acholi Cultural Revival Organization is to repair the current condition of the culture through community mobilization of elders, community leaders, and young people to revive traditions, rituals, and the values passed on by traditional dance, music, and storytelling.  This work has been going on for years.

To Support this Community Ministry Connection

Current partnership projects at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Padibe, Uganda include building a dorm, providing educational scholarships, and meeting the needs of the community.

To support these projects financially, checks can be made out to “Three Holy Women Parish” with “Global Solidarity – Padibe” in the memo line. Checks can be dropped in the donation basket at Mass or mailed to Three Holy Women Parish, 1716 N Humboldt Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202. Or, if you would prefer to share your contribution online, go to https://spof-mke.givingfuel.com/padibe-parish.

Additionally, we hope to begin to sell some items crafted by local artisans in Padibe, once per month, after all Masses. Please stay tuned for more information! Thank you for your continued support of our sister parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Padibe, Uganda. For more information or to get involved, contact Laura Hancock, Director of Social Justice and Outreach, at 414-271-6577 or lhancock@ffpmke.org.

Learn more at https://www.threeholywomenparish.org/padibe.

For more information about work being done in the Padibe Parish clinic see the article published by the Catholic Medical Association (Spring 2020) called “Reclaiming the Dignity of Patients in Uganda” by Cynthia Jones-Nosacek, M.D.  https://www.cathmed.org/pulse/2020-spring/reclaiming-the-patient-doctor-relationship-on-mission-in-uganda/ 

Likewise, see the Catholic Herald, 10/3/2019 article on “Knights of Columbus Donate Ultrasound Machines to Uganda” at https://catholicherald.org/catholic-herald/knights-of-columbus-donate-ultrasound-machines-to-uganda/

Education and Involvement

Join us on Wednesday, October 27 from 6:00 – 7:00 pm for a virtual Educational Event where we will learn more about the Global Solidarity Relationships of the Family of Four Parishes. We will hear the stories of fellow parishioners who have been sharing their gifts in recent years with our sister parishes in Chiapas, Mexico and Padibe, Uganda through Global Solidarity. If you are interested in participating in this virtual event, please RSVP to Mamie Riyeff at mriyeff@ffpmke.org for the details and the virtual link. Thank you for your interest in supporting the Family of Four Parishes’ Global Solidarity as national boundaries are transcended and our faith is shared in community!

Prayer Requests

  • That the Family of Four parishioners accept the call to live in greater solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world and participate in support of our sister parishes.
  • That the people of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Padibe, Uganda are successful in moving forward from the trauma of civil war and prospering as a healthy community of faith.
  • That the people of San Ildefonso in Chiapas, Mexico are successful in obtaining water, electricity, and a full-time doctor for their medical clinic.
  • That our parishioners will be generous in support of future mission appeals for our sister parishes in Padibe and Chiapas and that sharing their gifts will not be merely a gesture of charity but a call to reconsider the way we view our purpose and our place in the world.
  • That our relationships with sister parishes in Chiapas and Padibe awaken Catholics in Milwaukee to the universal nature of our Church, which transcends national boundaries.