An Exciting Announcement from the Social Concerns Committee

After nearly 2 1/2 years of discussion, planning and preparation, the Social Concerns Committee would like to announce the finalizing of a Sister Parish Partnership with the Parish of San Isidro Labrador (St. Isadore the Farmer) in the city of Luperon, state of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

As some of you may remember St. Mary Magdalene once had a sister parish from Lima, Peru many years ago.  That partnership ended when the Norbertine Fathers who ministered in that parish returned to the US.  With our attention focused on the building of our new church, we had not actively sought another parish with which to partner with until now.

Fr. Nelson Cruz, the Pastor of San Isidro, visited our Social Concern’s meeting in the summer of 2012 to ask for prayers for his parish on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.  He serves the Roman Catholics of Luperon, a city of 20,259 souls and also 25 outlying pueblos of varying size.  While many of his parishioners are impoverished in opportunity, education, and material possessions, they are all rich in faith, charity and devotion to Jesus our Lord.

A member of our committee traveled with Sr. Pat Flanigan and Julie Vargus of St. Joseph Parish in Wautoma to Luperon and reported back to the committee on the desirability of becoming a sister parish to San Isidro.  With Fr. Nelson’s and his Bishop Corniel Amaro’s  approval, we sought the blessing of our Parish Pastoral Council and Bishop Ricken.  With their approval, we have initiated a covenant agreement with San Isidro, which will be posted in the Narthex for those of you interested in reading it.

We are now in the process of meeting with the facilitators and representatives of the various ministries that make up St. Mary Magdalene to encourage and suggest ideas for engagement with the people of San Isidro.  Our focus is on exchanging spiritual and cultural activities with them in order to strengthen and unify our mutual solidarity in the Body of Christ.  To truly transform both parishes and help us to grow deeper in faith and solidarity, we encourage both our congregations to become involved, from  the Diocesan level, to the Parish, including the Pastor, the ministries and organizations, the family and even to the individual.

In the months to come, please look for more information about our Sister Parish displayed in the Narthex and published in the bulletin, web site and newsletter.  There will be a number of copies of the Parish Partnership Manual, published by Catholic Relief Services in the Holy Family Room to give you an overview of what a Sister Parish Partnership is all about.  We encourage you to consider prayerfully how you and your family could participate and will offer suggestions on activities that we can share with San Isidro to more fully appreciate each other’s history, culture and most importantly, spirituality. Please include the people of San Isidro, Luperon and the Dominican Republic in your daily prayers.   By doing so, we are fulfilling Christ’s call, echoed by Pope Francis to become truly One in Him, no matter what language, distance or circumstance divide us.