By Deacon Charlie Stump
Special to The Texas Catholic
In 2001, following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, the Diocese of Dallas established a Sister Diocese relationship with Trujillo, Honduras, in an effort to help rebuild the Church.
The mission of the relationship was founded to address the problem of “migration” for survival. Families were being forced to leave the rural northern coast of Honduras to find jobs and shelter. Our challenge was to assist the Diocese of Trujillo in bringing together the Body of Christ that was grieving the loss of family members and property as well as help them rebuild their lives. Three priorities were identified as areas of need: Education, Catechesis and Health. In 2005, the Diocese of Dallas established parish-to-parish pastoral relationships focusing on education and catechesis. The Dallas Diocese also began youth and young adult pastoral missions as well as medical and dental missions to the Diocese of Trujillo.
In October 2012, the Dallas Knights of Columbus delivered 280 wheelchairs to the Diocese of Trujillo for the many disabled. The next month the U.S. State Department issued a travelers warning for Honduras due to violence, which brought an end to our pastoral relationship with Trujillo.
The Diocese of Dallas still conducts an annual special collection to assist the Diocese of Trujillo with education. The Trujillo diocese uses a portion of the funds to establish and maintain the Honduran Institute of Radio Education (HIRE). The Honduran parish priests distribute textbooks to the students in the rural mountain communities and the teachers teach their classes over the Catholic Radio Station. An example of this is a parish that has built a parish school that now has 76 students from kindergarten to sixth grade Monday through Friday; on Saturday, 180 students come from the mountains to meet with the radio teachers at the parish school.
Much like the Diocese of Dallas Annual Appeal, this special collection for the Diocese of Trujillo assists their bishop to provide for the education of seminarians, and to provide for their disability ministry as well as many needs of the diocese.
Today, the bishops of Honduras have identified that due to the ongoing violence and drug trafficking, many single mothers and youth are fleeing Honduras out of fear for their children. The Diocese of Trujillo is trying to establish parish daycares for the single mothers while they work in addition to schools and scholarships for Catholic education.
The future of Honduras is in the hands of the next generation and that begins with Catholic education. Two parishes in the Diocese of Dallas have helped construct and continue to support students in four Trujillo Catholic parish schools, all established as a result of our sister diocese relationship. Again, following the devastation of two hurricanes in 2020 over 800 pounds of medical supplies were shipped to the Diocese of Trujillo. Local Catholic doctors traveled into the mountains to care for many families that were suffering the effects of dysentery and malnourishment. Just as in the United States the effect of COVID in Honduras has economically paralyzed the country. A country that depended on agriculture to feed their families are now starving and seeking help. And we ask ourselves why are they standing at our borders?
Your donation to the Second Collection for the Diocese of Trujillo and Central America on Jan. 2-3, 2022 will not only save lives but also save the Church of the people in the Diocese of Trujillo, Honduras.Deacon Charlie Stump is the director of the Catholic Social Ministry for the Diocese of Dallas.