Guatemala Sister-Parish

Our Previous Sister Parish in Guatemala

A letter from our Sister Parish…

(March 14, 2010) We are hopeful that God our Father, Jesus His beloved son, and the Holy Spirit, will fill you and your families with abundant blessings…We need your help and support in prayer because our community in Santa Maria Del Camino is in trouble…We are facing some very difficult times.

On Thursday the gangs came to ask for “protection” money. Many of us expressed our opposition to paying it, and the man who was here to collect left very upset. He later came back later and said that we could relax – they would not bother us any more. However, since then we have been afraid because what they do is attack the houses where people refuse to pay. We are thinking that this may be done to our church and its parishioners. Today a man who was waiting in line to buy water, in front of lots of people, broke into our water distribution center through the office window. The man was restrained by several of our parishioners and the police took him, but since the man did not take money there was no hard evidence and the police set him free. We believe that in some strange way it is good that they set him free so that there is less retribution. We need your prayers because these same young men are asking questions to learn who are the community leaders for Santa Maria Del Camino, so that they can track us down. We are in anguish. I feel sick and very nervous about this because this year has been very hard for my family. Jesus (the man who runs the water distribution center) and his family are very afraid as well, and this makes things even more difficult for him because he is ill. We are leaving our safety to the Holy Trinity because we believe that the Holy Trinity will accompany us. We do not want to stop doing our jobs as church leaders. We have lots of projects to still be completed especially the construction of the second floor and the associated conference rooms. We are waiting for the completion of the blue prints and the time and cost estimate, but we are so busy with this stuff, that we have temporarily stopped. However, we know that with the support in prayer from so many people, many of us are going to make it and make it in a strong way. – Gladys, (from our Sister Parish in Guatemala, Santa Maria Del Camino) Please include Gladys, as well as the other people of our Sister parish, in your prayers.
~ Andamos Unidos

Our visitors in 2009…

  • We welcomed 6 guests from our sister parish who arrived in Fremont on September 14, 2009.

Our recent 2008 trip…

  • From June 16th to the 23rd, nine members of St. Joseph parish, Old Mission San Jose, traveled to Guatemala to visit their sister community, Santa Maria del Camino, in the impoverished township of Villa Lobos I. They carried with them over 2,000 toothbrushes and a number of First Communion dresses that were donated by member of St. Joseph parish and other neighboring parishes, including Our Lady of Guadalupe and Holy Spirit in Fremont and St. Thomas of Canterbury in Campbell. Father Ignatius DeGroot, the Franciscan priest who introduced St. Joseph parish to Santa Maria del Camino and who spent six years ministering to the people there, spoke at all the Masses on the weekend of June 14-15 and presided over a commissioning service to send forth the nine parishioners: Msgr. Manuel Simas, Bill Norwalk, Victoria Norwalk, Ilief and Irene Andersen, Jill Popolizio, Marlene Kowalski, Bob Loew, and Kay Tierney. The purpose of this visit was to build deeper relationships between the people of St. Joseph and the people of Santa Maria del Camino.
  • During the week in Guatemala, the group had the opportunity to meet many of the parishioners and to participate in numerous activities.  

Our 2007 trip to Guatemala

  • Our sister parish, Santa Maria del Camino is one of five large churches that belong to the same large parish. Please join us thank everyone who participated in the recent trip to Guatemala on April 18 to 22 to visit our Sister Parish Santa Maria del Camino and inaugurate a new water system.
  • Thank You – Thank you for your generous contribution of $24,000 in the January 14th second collection. Our sister parish will make very good use of this money to improve the lives of the people in the parish.

2006 Dedication

  • On Friday, July 28, 2006, our sister parish in Guatemala celebrated the dedication of their new water purification system. Father Manny, Bill Norwalk, Alan Hyman, and Fred and Kay Tierney represented St. Joseph parish. Hundreds of people attended the dedication.


  • Join our Guatemalan sister-parish group (Andamos Unidos).
  • Learn about the situation in Guatemala. A few suggested books:
    • Guatemala: Never Again! by Archdiocese of Guatemala
    • I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala by Rigoberta Menchu
    • The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention by Richard Immerman
    • Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala by Daniel Wilkinson
    • Unfinished Conquest: The Guatemalan Tragedy by Victor Perera
  • Visit our sister parish. Our next visit is not yet scheduled, but contact any member of Andamos Unidos if you are interested.
  • Buy a regular mulita ($15, wheeled cart that holds one 5-gallon jug) or a super mulita ($30, holds two 5-gallon jugs) to help people carry their water jugs home.
  • Provide a water jug ($4) for a member of the Santa Maria del Camino community.
  • In gratitude for our abundance of fresh, safe water, tax yourself one penny for every ten gallons of water you use. Contribute this money to the water project at our sister parish.
  • Sponsor a free water day for the community of Santa Maria del Camino (@$280).
  • Contribute to Healing Waters International to fund additional water systems in other needy areas. Visit .
  • Sponsor a member of Santa Maria del Camino to visit us at St. Joseph Church.
  • Schedule an Andamos Unidos presentation for the next meeting of your social or service-oriented organization.

To contribute to our sister parish, make checks payable to St. Joseph Church — Andamos Unidos. Put them in a clearly marked envelope and drop them in the Sunday collection.