Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund
Laying the Foundation for a Future of Faith
Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund
Dear Friend of the Missions,
It was my privilege to serve as a missionary in our Latin America Apostolate from 1988 to 1993, at Cristo Rey Parish in La Paz, Bolivia. I know firsthand the kind of pastoral emergencies that occur. A family member urgently needs surgery and the loved ones struggle to raise the funds, only to come up short. A family faces eviction from their tiny apartment because the husband has been laid off and his odd jobs do not provide enough income to pay the rent. A parent is sick and passes away, and the family does not have enough money to pay for funeral expenses.
Emergency pastoral needs, such as these, require an additional source of income to help parishioners in the midst of crisis. While the annual appeal and collection for our Latin America Apostolate raises income to meet ordinary expenses of Maria Reina Parish in La Paz and to subsidize our missionary work in Santiago Parish in Calamarca, additional support is still desperately needed.
It was precisely this need that led me to establish our Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund. With the assistance and leadership of Dr. John Soucy, this Endowment Fund was established in 2004. Dr. Soucy said of the Endowment Fund, "It is important for long-term planning, and an endowment will guarantee some income in good times and in bad."
Please read on to learn how your donation will help our St. Louis priest missionaries to assist the poor in the many crisis situations they encounter in Bolivia. Your donation to the Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund will help our missionaries to serve the people of Bolivia in their times of greatest need.
Thank you for your prayers, sacrifices, and financial support of the missionary work of our Archdiocese. May God bless you for your generosity, and for helping us to lay the foundation for a future of faith through the Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund.
Gratefully in Our Lord,
Monsignor Francis X. Blood
Director, Latin America Apostolate
Archdiocese of St. Louis
FOUNDATION OF FAITH
Since 1956, the Latin America Apostolate has been our Archdiocesan missionary commitment to Bolivia—the poorest country in South America. Cardinal Joseph Ritter responded to the request of the Papal Nuncio to send some of his many priests to the Archdiocese of La Paz, a vast archdiocese with very few native Bolivian priests. The first three priests sent to Bolivia in May 1956 were Fr. David Ratermann, Fr. Andrew Schierhoff, and Msgr. Andrew Kennedy. They began their missionary work in what would become Cristo Rey Parish in La Paz.
For nearly 60 years, over 40 priests have laid the foundation for serving the people of Bolivia and bringing them Jesus’ message of hope and love. Under their leadership, and with the generosity of parishioners in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, our apostolate has experienced much growth.
Today, three St. Louis priest missionaries continue this extraordinary work. Fr. Patrick Hayden, Fr. Jim Michler, and Fr. Timothy Noelker serve at Maria Reina Parish in La Paz, where most of the 70,000 parishioners are Catholic and very poor. Our missionaries proclaim the Gospel message, celebrate the sacraments, train native Bolivian priests, and assist in the formation of lay missionary disciples, who help with the religious education of children, youth and adults, as well as outreach to the 14 neighborhoods of the parish. The parish health clinic also treats 5,000 patients per year and offers medical and dental care, medicines, and food.
Our missionaries also offer Mass and celebrate the sacraments for the native Aymara people in Santiago Parish in Calamarca, located in the Prelature of Coro Coro (a mission territory outside of La Paz). There are thirty villages within the parish boundaries, each with its own chapel. There is no resident priest, so our missionaries take turns to visit eight villages per week, one week per month.
MISSIONARIES OF FAITH
Every day, our missionaries bring the love and hope of Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Bolivia. Most of the population lives in some of the worst poverty in the Western hemisphere. In such poverty, there are many challenges: malnutrition, illness, and taking care of basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. The presence of our Latin America Apostolate allows our missionaries to help those less fortunate who face these challenges … but the Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund helps when these challenges become emergencies.
Sr. Guichy Loma, C.PP.S., a native Bolivian and a Precious Blood Sister of O’Fallon, oversees the health clinic and social work at Maria Reina Parish. Read on to see how Sr. Guichy uses monies from the Endowment Fund to serve the people of Maria Reina.
An instrument of God’s mercy & love
Sofia is 15 years old and suffers from kidney disease. Her father died. Her mother can do little to help her with dialysis treatments, much less with the $5,000 surgery fee for a kidney transplant. Sofia asked Sr. Guichy: “What did I do wrong? I’ve always tried to be a good girl. I just want to be normal, to have friends, to have a family. The only person who ever loved me was my Dad and he died.” Sr. Guichy reassured Sofia that Jesus loves her, and tries to be an instrument of God’s mercy and love with Sofia. The parish helps pay for two-thirds of the dialysis treatments twice per week. The parish pays $30 while Sofia pays $10. The parish also pays a small fee to two women who help take Sofia to the hospital and back to her home after treatment.
A better future
Alberto is a young man aged 21 who lives with his grandmother. He came from the countryside with the hope of finding a better future. He is sick with tuberculosis. He needs medicine and the parish provides it at a monthly cost of $100. He is also in a food assistance program at Maria Reina Parish. He has much hope of recovery, after which he hopes to study and have a job to support himself.
A place to call home
Elizabeth is a mother of three young children. Her own mother died when she was very young, so she has had to help raise her four younger siblings. Her husband has abandoned her twice because he did not agree that they had to raise her siblings, besides their own three children. They live in a very small house. The parish has helped supply used materials to construct two additional rooms and a roof at a cost of $300. Elizabeth and her children participate in the Maria Reina lunch and tutoring program.
A healing touch
Josefina has ovarian cancer and is a young mother of three children of school-age. Her husband went to Brazil to find a job, but has not sent any funds since he left in January 2013. The parish has helped Josefina with the cost of chemotherapy: $300 thus far. She and her children also participate in the Maria Reina lunch and tutoring program.
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted …”
Fr. Patrick Hayden is Pastor of Maria Reina Parish in La Paz, Bolivia, as well as Dean of the Gran Poder Zone and Director of the small communities of faith in the Archdiocese of La Paz. Fr. Hayden provides support for pastoral emergencies in the parish. Read on to hear one family’s story, in his own words.
A young woman came to tell me that her mother was very ill. The young woman was 23 years old, and had six younger brothers and sisters, all now living together with their dying mother in a room about the size of a storage closet.
The daughter had hoped that they might all travel back to their home village before their mother died, so that she could be buried there. As it turns out, the woman (only some 40+ years old herself) died just a couple of days after I had first gone to visit and anoint her. The oldest daughter was beside herself. On the first occasion, I had given her something like $40 to help her buy food for the family and some medicines for the mother. Now, there were funeral expenses to take on.
So, we measured the mother's body and I went to a funeral parlor (this was early on a Sunday morning, so I had to do some searching to find a place that was open) to buy a casket, which I brought back to the room where they all were living. The daughter, having no relatives here in La Paz, saw no other option than traveling that very morning the some 15+ hours back to her hometown, accompanied by the earthly remains of her mother and by her smallest siblings. The older ones stayed in La Paz. In all (casket, transportation expenses and food for the family), we made a contribution of some $400, which the daughter received with tears of gratitude.
Later, when the young woman returned to La Paz after the burial of her mother, I put her in contact with Sr. Guichy Loma, who was able to receive her into the food assistance program at Maria Reina. From there, when one of the viviendas (shelters) in Llojeta that the Precious Blood Sisters had gotten built many years ago became available, Sr. Guichy offered the house to this young woman and her family. As you can imagine, they were overjoyed.
Now, all of the children being older, they are faithful members of the St. Barbara Chapel community, which is part of Maria Reina Parish in La Paz. Praised be God for such wondrous graces.
Fr. Patrick Hayden
Pastor, Maria Reina Parish
Latin America Apostolate
FUTURE OF FAITH
Begun in 2004, the Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund was established to provide additional, ongoing revenue to supplement the needs of our Latin America Apostolate—most especially to provide assistance for some of the emergencies that our missionaries face in serving the people of Bolivia. These emergencies require support beyond what is budgeted or funded by the annual appeal and collection for our Latin America Apostolate.
Bishop Morgan Casey (Bishop Emeritus of the Vicariate of the Pando in Bolivia), who served in our Latin America Apostolate for 48 years, is grateful for the generosity that the Archdiocese of St. Louis has always shown to Bolivia. “When Cardinal Ritter began the Latin America Apostolate many years ago, he showed the wonderful support that characterizes the generosity of St. Louis Catholics to the missions. Your generosity to the Latin America Apostolate has guaranteed the presence of St. Louis priests in Bolivia up to the present. Archbishop Carlson continues the wonderful support we have always received. Your gift to the Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund assures us of the missionary presence of St. Louis in Bolivia.”
Thanks to the Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund, our missionaries are able to carry on this wonderful missionary presence and provide for the poorest of the poor in Bolivia—while at the same time offering them the love, care, hope, and faith of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
By supporting the Endowment Fund, you too are answering God’s call to be a missionary, sharing your faith with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
DONATIONS & SUPPORT: THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!
The Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund is made up of donations which are permanently restricted, and at the request of the donors are to be used to provide financial support for the operation of the Latin America Apostolate. Interest earned by the Endowment Fund is directed annually to the activities of the Apostolate, leaving the principal gift untouched. Donors are assured that their gift will benefit generations to come. Every gift, no matter how small or large, makes a difference in the lives of our missionaries and the people they serve.
Send check (payable to Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund) to:
Latin America Apostolate Endowment Fund
20 Archbishop May Drive
St. Louis, MO 63119
Visit this link to access our online giving.
Call our office at 314-792-7655 to donate by credit card.
Gifts of stock are always welcome. Please call 314-792-7123 to arrange a transfer of securities.
Giving a percentage of one's estate is an excellent way to share your legacy of supporting this holy mission with those you leave behind, and your gift will help the missions for years to come. There are several gift planning options available to donors who would like to support the Latin America Apostolate through their estate planning. Please call the Latin America Apostolate at 314-792-7655 or the Office of Stewardship and the Annual Catholic Appeal at 314-792-7680 for more information or assistance.