Guatemala Solidarity Partnership Launches "Together in Education"
We are please to unveil "Together in Education" or TIE, a new program that reflects the shared commitment of both communities--St. Charles Borromeo and Santa Rosa de Lima--to provide quality education for our children. Through a coordinated effort of resoruces, TIE will support and sponsor ten children from Oratorio, Guatemala.
In Guatemala, a child will attend school an average of 4 years with only 3 out of 10 children graduating from sixth grade. Reasons are numerous for the low education levels: lack of public schools, limited access to schools, cost of attending school.
Public schools are expensive for the vast majority of Guatemalans -- 58% live beneath the poverty line and 13% live in extreme poverty. Most parents who face economical challenges strive to send their sons to school through sixth grade and daughters long enough to read and write. The costs of schooling make this goal near impossible to achieve.
Public schools in Guatemala charge "participation" fees to cover items such as school construction, building repairs, registration, uniforms, and basic classroom supplies. The annual Public School tuition and supplies in Guatemala, approximately $400, would be the equivalent of a single month's grocery bill for a family of four in the United States.
Compouning the problem, the average economically challenged family in Guatemala earns as little as $550 annually and has 6 children. Sending all six children to public school would mean the family wouldn't have enough money to live.
Over the course of the next two months, the Guatemalan Solidarity Partnership will be featuring our scholars in the weekly bulletin. It is our hope that you will become familiar with our newest members of St. Charles' extended community and support them as they embark on their educational journey.
The Guatemalan Solidarity Partnership at St. Charles Borromeo is part of a Diocesan effort, initiated by Catholic Relief Servcies, to partner parishes in the Diocese of Metuchen with parishes in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Guatemala. The partnership aims to create mutually enriching relationships by providing opportunities for project support, exchange visits, faith sharing, and advocacy on behalf of the world's poor and marginalized.
Together in Education:Meet Wuilmer! (Pictured above in the middle of the center row)
Wuilmer Roel Ortíz Martínez is a bright eyed 8 year-old who attends the third grade at E.O.R.M. Los Achiotes.His class has 37 students aged 8 through 12 years.Wuilmer’s teacher, Señora Samol dictates the day’s lessons while Wuilmer and his classmates copy the key concepts from the blackboard to their notebooks.Wuilmer’s school lacks sufficient supplies to provide textbooks, workbooks, or worksheets to its students to reinforce the daily lesson, so Wuilmer double checks his notes to make sure he copied the lesson correctly.
This is a critical year for Wuilmer and his classmates.In Guatemala, about 50% of students entering third grade leave school because they have fallen too far behind in their studies and the pressure to work and help contribute financially to the family household becomes too great.
Together in Education (TIE) is a new program that reflects the shared commitment of both parishes - St. Charles Borromeo and Santa Rosa de Lima – to provide quality education for our children.Through a coordinated effort of resources, TIE will support Wuilmer and nine other children between the ages of 7 and 13, from Oratorio, Guatemala.
A delegation from the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Guatemala visited St. Charles on Wednesday, September 7. The highlight of the visit was a beautiful evening Mass concelebrated by Monsignor Malovetz and Padre Raul Monterroso. Many thanks to all the parishioners who joined us for this celebration, and to the choir for leading us in beautiful song!
The three-person delegation (including P. Raul, Luci Herrarte, and Roel Peralta) spent a week in New Jersey visiting parishes in the Diocese of Metuchen to review projects under the growing Catholic Charities Solidarity Team (CCST) program. Msgr. Greg, along with staff and members of the Guatemala Steering Committee, met with the delegation to deepen our fellowship and advance the understanding of the CCST partnership. Specific steps were identified as we progress toward formalizing a specific project between our community and a parish in Guatemala. To see more pictures, please visit the photo gallery.
God calls all Christians to a life of service and justice.
The Catholic Community of St. Charles Borromeo strives to live its faith in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Santa Rosa in Guatemala, as we collaborate in creating just communities through long-term sustainable relationships.
Agreed upon in 2003, the Dioceses of Metuchen and Santa Rosa were partnered in a program initiated (but since discontinued) by Catholic Relief Services. Now under the guidance of the Catholic Charities Solidarity Team of Metuchen (CCST), GSP provides opportunities for project support, education, exchange visits, faith sharing, and advocacy on behalf of the world’s poor and marginalized. Read Bishop Bootkoski’s 2003 State of the Diocese to learn more about the Diocesan relationship.
Since 2008, parishes in the Metuchen Diocese have begun making long-term commitments of their own to Santa Rosa, including Queenship of Mary in Plainsboro, St Joseph’s in Millstone, and St. Bernard’s in Bridgewater.
As Santa Rosa Bishop Bernabe de Jesus Sagastume has stated, "We understand that we should not exclusively look for economic solidarity, but rather something more profound and integral: the sharing of faith, charity, cultural values, the struggles and hopes of the poorest. This allows us to grow in an authentic brotherhood and solidarity."
GSP at St. Charles BorromeoIn September 2009, our parish hosted the 8-member delegation from Santa Rosa for a day as they travelled throughout the Diocese of Metuchen. While at St. Charles, the delegation and leaders from Queenship of Mary met with lay leaders at St. Charles to discuss the parish-to-parish partnerships. Follow up meetings throughout the winter revealed excitement and enthusiasm for a potential partnership at St. Charles.
In the spring of 2010, the Guatemala Solidarity Partnership (GSP) had their first “kick off” with fun and festive information gatherings after Masses. The application process for delegates to Guatemala began soon there after and our initial delegation is scheduled to travel in mid-September. The goal of the partnership is to form real and long-term relationships with people who are of another culture and are economically disenfranchised. We hope to both share and receive as we eventually engage in concrete actions such as advocacy and support for sustainable projects that will improve living conditions in Guatemala.
To date, St. Charles has sent two delegations to Guatemala in September 2010 and May 2011.