Building a ‘place where they are safe’

April 1, 2011

Dear Columban Friend,

The Columban Parish of Corpus Christi in Anapra, Mexico, is just outside the city limits of Mexico’s notorious Ciudad Juarez. For the past several years, Ciudad Juarez and the surrounding areas have been front page news regarding the drug wars and the violence inflicted on the residents of those areas.

Fr. Arturo Aguilar - U.S. Regional Director

Fr. Arturo Aguilar

Corpus Christi parish is full of families working courageously despite the violence. The area is home to several thousand families living in immense poverty. The families live in one or two room poorly constructed houses, only half of which have electricity and running water. There are few paved roads and no public sewer system. Most of these families are destitute migrant workers from different parts of Mexico who came looking for work in the foreign-owned factories; those lucky enough to land a job in one of the factories earn about $60 a week.

Despite these hardships, Corpus Christi parish is a beacon of hope for families in that area. Parents in the parish are like parents everywhere else in the world. Once they take care of their family’s basic needs for food and shelter, their primary concern is for their children. They pray for a better life for the children, one free of the violence that currently engulfs their community.

For fourteen years, Columbans have staffed Corpus Christi parish. Now, Fr. Kevin Mullins is in the beginning stages of building the Corpus Christi Community Center. The Center will be safe place for the youth of the parish and community, a place where they are protected from the culture of drugs and violence. The Center will provide space for healthy recreational activities like soccer and basketball. Furthermore, the Center will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by an onsite caretaker to insure a safe and secure atmosphere. It will be a place where young people can be young people unencumbered by the burdens of the drug culture that surrounds them, a place where they are safe.

As St. Paul says, “Thanks to the favor God showed me, I laid a foundation and now someone else is building on it.”  You are that someone St. Paul talked about, and it is through your generous assistance and that of our other Columban benefactors that we could begin the process of building the Community Center.

As our partner in mission, you and your loved ones will be remembered in our Masses and prayers. We continually ask Our Savior to show you the gratitude we all feel.

Gratefully yours in Christ,

Fr. Arturo Aguilar