The Corpus Christi Companion Parish Committee focuses on developing and deepening our parish relationship with the Union de las Aldeas Corpus Christi, our companion parish in San Sebastian, Guatemala. The committee sponsors events and activities within our parish through which the lives and hopes of our companions become known to us, as well as visits to Union de las Aldeas Corpus Christi.
There has been a historical relationship between the community of St. John the Baptist and the Union de las Aldeas Corpus Christi that began to take shape in the first few years of our parish. St. John the Baptist became connected with this particular community through two members of our parish whose sister, a School Sister of Notre Dame, was the pastoral leader for the Union de las Aldeas Corpus Christi.
The Union de las Aldeas Corpus Christi is a parish in the Diocese of San Marcos, Guatemala. The Union de las Aldeas Corpus Christi is a “union” of nine small villages (aldeas). This rural community was hit hard by the 36-year Civil War that ended in 1996, which was a reason the Sisters of Notre Dame came to serve in the region. In the beginning, they had no pastor and relied on the availability of pastors from neighboring parishes to celebrate the sacramental life of the Church. For several years, a small group of missionaries from the Salvatorian order in Spain have lived in these villages ministering to the community. They were invited by Cardinal, then Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini who was the Bishop of the Diocese of San Marcos at the time.
However, due to the distance between the villages and lack of transportation, each village is not able to have Mass celebrated weekly. Instead, there are trained catechists in each village who celebrate a Word and Communion service in place of a Mass. The Salvatorian priest travels between the villages to celebrate Mass each weekly. A few times a year, for large celebrations, the villages gather together at the main church located in the village of Cisguachin.
Over the years, we have worked with the Salvatorians to best support our Guatemalan brothers and sisters.
Below – San Sebastian (purple pin) is the village where the Salvatorians reside. The nine villages are located on either side of San Sebastian, surrounding the Tajamulco volcano. Click on the map for a legend of the nine aldeas.
The committee has helped support a number of projects over the years. These include:
- Stoves to provide better ventilation in homes, improving breathing issues
- Completion of church in Cisguachin, the central parish for the villages in the Union
- Construction of cinderblock homes, that provide protection against the elements and more stability
- Water filtration systems that provide clean drinking water
When it is safe to do so, we are planning on returning to Guatemala to continue growing in relationship with our brothers and sisters of the Union de la Aldeas, Corpus Christi. If you are interested in taking a trip, let us know!
Also, we like to lend our support to assist our fellow community members with needs they identify. This can be done via fundraising, educating, and advocacy. Currently, our community members have identified latrines as a need they would like to address. We are exploring ways we can join forces to improve hygiene within the region.
We meet monthly on the 2nd Wednesday at 7 PM. We would love to have you join us.
Please contact Andrea Mendoza at 253-893-6684 or at AndreaM@sjtbcc.org to get connected!
The Gift of Eucharist Connects Us Across Cultures
No matter what language you speak, the Eucharist is universally understood among Catholics worldwide. St John the Baptist (SJTB) has had a companion parish in Guatemala for more than 20 years now. For the first time ever in September 2021, we welcomed a family from Union de las Aldeas Corpus Christi parish for a 5 day visit to SJTB and the beautiful Pacific Northwest! Rudy, Myra, Belen and Everson were hosted by our Guatemala Mission group and delivered a heartfelt message at our weekend masses on September 25/26th. This picture of them bringing up the gifts of Eucharist shows a special solidarity in faith that we have with our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. We hope to grow this connection with more frequent visits between our companion parishes, so that we can support each other in building the kingdom of God.
We were blessed with our first ever visit from our Guatemalan community in September 2021. Rudy, Myra, Everson & Belen who had hosted the group from St. John’s in February 2020 spent a few days with our parish community. They joined us for worship and fellowship and some site seeing adventures. Click on the picture below for more of our time together.
July 2013 – youth trip
July 2012 – youth trip