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Mission special on parish twinning: Honduras and Loveland

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Students at Home of Nazareth (“Holy Family”) School wait for the Cincinnati visitors with their principal. CT PHOTO/GAIL FINKE

Archdiocese staff visits unique parish school for friends at SMOY

Holy Family is the only school of its kind in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

There are other Catholic schools, but this one is for students who can’t a ord to pay. Just a block away from the local public school, Home of Nazareth was established by St. Dominic Savio, a local multi-church parish, to help its poorest members. ey sta and fund the school, with help from St.Margaret of York parish in Loveland.

The public school has every amenity, a translator from the parish told a group of Archdiocese of Cincinnati staff who visited in February. But it is also plagued with violence. The surrounding streets are controlled by different drug gangs, she said. “Last year, there were murders just outside the public school,” she said, where “they try to recruit the boys. And if they want a girl, they just take her.”

Home of Nazareth, in contrast, is a ramshackle affair. Tiny classrooms in two different buildings connected by wooden stairs and ramps surround a cheerful courtyard, and a walled-off play area overlooks the distant mountains. Thanks to funds from Cincinnati, the classrooms have been tiled and painted. Students were o for the Feast of Our Lady of Suyapa, a national holiday in Honduras, when the Cincinnati delegation visited, so they had to imagine many feet hurrying up and down the stairs and playing in the courtyard. Three students came in to meet with the visitors, along with the parish priest, the school counselor – who also, unlike most counselors in the United States, negotiates with the gangs when needed – and the principal.

The visitors toured the church next door, where parishioners were decorating for the feast, ate lunch at the tables usually shared by students, heard a presentation about progress at the school, and brought greetings from Cincinnati. One of the students spoke briefly, telling the visitors to thank the people at home who have helped them go to school and to be safe, and assuring them that they all work very hard at class.

“Don’t forget about us,” she said.

The enclosed courtyard at Home of Nazareth School is a safe place to play. CT PHOTO/GAIL FINKE

What is parish twinning?

Parish twinning is a type of mission in which established Catholic parishes and communities work together in solidarity to evangelize each other, build up each others’ faith, and experience the universality of the Catholic Church.

Twinning is a two-way relationship. Both sides give and receive, and both sides develop friendships. A twinning relation- ship includes ongoing visits, and and includes parish-wide celebrations as well as focused projects.

Thirty-eight parishes in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are part of twinning relationships with parishes in Arizona and Kentucky, and more than a dozen countries, including Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Brazil, Haiti, Ghana, and Grenada.

Interested in twinning? Contact the Mission Office at (513) 421- 3131 ext. 2630, or [email protected].

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