St. Mary’s “Partners in Mission in Ecuador”
The mission of the St. Mary’s Partners in Mission in Ecuador Ministry is to promote and enhance the relationship of St. Mary’s Parish Community and our sisters and brothers who participate in our ministry partner, the Working Boys’ Center (WBC) in Quito, Ecuador. Through our growth in relationship between St. Mary’s community and the WBC participants, everyone involved will gain a deeper understanding of justice, peace the integrity of creation, the dignity of the human person, the diversity of cultural values and the challenges of developing relationships across continents.
St. Mary’s Parish Community is dedicated to exploring, understanding and responding to the call and tenets of Catholic Social Teaching. Our parish has a long history of reaching out to our local community; it is the desire of the Partners in Mission in Ecuador to broaden our understanding of “Who is our Neighbor” out of country. We will be able to do so by walking in solidarity with the participants of WBC. It is the goal of this new ministry to join the people of St. Mary’s community and the WBC in prayer, solidarity, advocacy, mutuality and the faith development.
St. Mary’s expresses the principal of Solidarity locally through the Santee Mission, a poor and neglected community in East San Jose; nationally through our Sister Parish in Pascagoula; and internationally through our Partners in Mission in Ecuador.
In spring of 2008, seven members of St. Mary’s JustFaith and WAV youth programs were commissioned by the parish on Holy Thursday to travel to Quito, Ecuador, to participate in a service project/immersion experience at the Working Boy’s Center (WBC) – A Family of Families. The WBC was started 45 years ago by a Jesuit priestand joined soon after by several Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). The center began by serving the poor shoeshine boy population of Quito and has grown into a family program that provides care through meals, medical and dental services, values building, micro-enterprise credit, community homebuilding opportunities and most of all, education and vocational training. The WBC ministers to all family members to help them break the cycle of poverty though self-sufficiency.
As an outgrowth of that experience and complementing St. Mary’s Mission and Vision statements of the Peace and Justice Council, St. Mary’s Parish established a long-term relationship with the WBC. This grew into the Partners in Mission in Ecuador. Together, we are building connections and faith rooted in service. There will be various opportunities to develop this relationship throughout the year. Please join our parish in building these bonds with our partners in mission at the Working Boys’ Center in Quito, Ecuador.
Partners in Mission in Ecuador direct contacts are parishioners Maureen Tabari at 408-482-9906 or Anne Maloney at 408-355-4687
Staff contact is Jane Najour, Director of St. Mary’s Pastoral Care, Community Ministry and Social Justice at (408)354-3726 x121.
Current Connections and Volunteer Opportunities
Immersion Trips to Quito in 2017-
Feb. 15 - 25 and June 15 - 25
Twice a year, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception (Los Gatos) offers a wonderful opportunity to participate in 10-day immersion trip to the Working Boys Center (WBC) in Ecuador. Our spring trip will be February 15 - 25. We will fly into Guayaquil and spend a day with Sr. Annie Credidio at the Damien House a Hanson’s Disease clinic, then fly into Quito and spend the remainder of the trip at the WBC. The WBC is an educational and training program designed to bring families out of poverty. It was started by a Jesuit priest and a BVM nun over 50 years ago. The trip offers a unique opportunity to participate and learn more about the Ecuadorian culture by living onsite and volunteering at the Center among the families. Please contact Maureen Tabari 408-482-9906 or Anne Maloney 408-355-4687 / firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more or signing up! Also all adults and families are welcome to join us and learn more about our immersion trips at the November 5, 2017 Ecucadorian Soup Supper.
Working Boys Center - http://www.c4wf.org/family-matters/Working Boys Center
The Damien House - www.thedamienhouse.org
Center for Working Families (Reference: St. Mary’s Church in Los Gatos, CA)
12605 W. North Avenue #130
Brookfield, Wisconsin 53005-4629
*Donations can also be made on-line through PayPal
*All donations are fully tax deductible
Visit Us At: www.c4wf.org
A little bit about the Working Boys’ Center in Quito, Ecuador
“To contribute to the prosperity of the working boys and their families is to contribute to the present and future welfare of the community.”
The Working Boys’ Center: A Family of Families
“The Working Boys' Center: A Family of Families” serves the working boys and their entire families. This characteristic makes the WBC a unique agent for social change. They are a Catholic institution, with the objective of creating, developing and strengthening moral values by means of changes in attitudes and behavior, helped by programs of formation and social assistance. This process of change stresses ten important areas of life: loyalty, personal formation, family, religion, education, economy, work, recreation, health and housing.
The goal is that the families of the working boys will be united in their Christian commitment be financially independent, have access to education, health and quality basic services; become agents of change, oriented to the construction of a just society that promotes equal participation and respect for fundamental rights.
The strength of a society depends on the welfare of the whole family. All members of the families of the working boys receive the benefits provided by the WBC and learn a technical profession. In this way they contribute to the elimination of unemployment, one of the determining factors of poverty.
More information available at www.c4wf.org
“I WAS MOTIVATED TO BECOME A NEW MAN”
Carlos Gómez, Working Boys' Center Graduate and now Director of the Working Boys' Center
“I was shining shoes in Quito's main plaza in 1964. A friend invited me to join the Working Boys' Center and there I began primary school; I didn't like studying, was rebellious, constantly escaped back to the plaza with my buddies. With a lot of patience and with a firm, but loving, hand Father John motivated me to want to become a new man.”
In 1980, after completing his grade and high school education, Carlos joined the team of directors of the Working Boys' Center Movement. In 1990 he obtained a Kellogg International Leadership Fellowship as part of the first group in Latin America.
“Feeling affection is the basis for changing attitudes and taking charge of your own life; for me, this is what makes the Working Boys' Center different. The love, the respect and the solidarity along with the discipline and the rules are values that are promoted here every day.”
Personal Story about Immersion Trip
Witnessing the Holy Spirit in Ecuador
By Bill Perry--Member of Saint Mary, Los Gatos Church
"In April, I traveled to Ecuador with a group from the Diocese of San Jose, a recent college graduate and an Illinois resident. We were blessed to witness the Holy Spirit’s work there through two grace filled organizations, Damien House and the Working Boys’ Center.
In Guayaquil, Sister Annie Credidio, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), introduced us to the residents of Damien House. Damien House is a residential hospital that exists to provide care to those affected by Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy). Its alternate goal is also to dispel the stigma of Leprosy. Those who live at Damien House are unable to live independently due to complications from the disease. The stigma may also prevent them from returning to their families.
After arriving there, I personally witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit as my fears of Leprosy diminished. The recovery of one resident, Natividad, particularly struck me. Natividad’s neighbors found her crawling on her hands and knees. She had been abandoned by her family due to the stigma of Hansen’s disease.
When we met her at Damien House, she was walking independently with an upbeat attitude. Clearly, Natividad, herself, had encountered the Holy Spirit.
At the next stop on our journey, we met the co-founders of the Working Boys’ Center (WBC) Padre John Halligan, S.J., and Madre Miguel Conway, BVM. The Working Boys’ Center (WBC) or El Centro de Muchacho Trabajadores in Quito was founded in 1964 by Father John Halligan, S.J., to address the educational needs of shoe shine boys working on the streets. Padre’s and Madre’s WBC mission began in the attic of a Jesuit church in downtown Quito. With the help of the volunteers and benefactors, they were able to move out of the attic and procure 2 locations to serve both boys, girls and whole families. Since its inception, the WBC’s objective has been to eliminate poverty among working children and their families. To date, around 30,000 people have left poverty forever as a result of the Working Boys’ Center program. We witnessed the Holy Spirt through Padre and Madre’s story of perseverance and dedication.
Some of our projects at WBC included working at the Mercado de Pulgas, a bodega warehouse and local flea market. Madre Cindy Sullivan, BVM put us all to work there even though most of us knew very little Spanish. The Ecuadorian families were very patient with us as they picked out their merchandise and looked to us to provide a fair price. Even though the used items in the bodega looked worn these families saw them as treasures.
On another day we visited the dwellings of the families of the Working Boys’ Center. It was humbling to step into their lives. One home had one room, one heating plate and one light with a ceiling less than 6 feet high. Here is where they ate, slept and loved. Their income came from the family members who sold flowers, vegetables and even toilet paper on the street. They had lived there for six months and were receiving an education at the WBC as well as learning a trade. They were also proud to share that they had saved $125.00 toward a new home."
Ecuadorian Soup Supper – November 2016
The Ecuadorian Soup Supper in November at St. Mary’s Howley Hall Gym and support for the Working Boy's Center through craft sales and donations were amazing successes. Thank you!!! St. Mary's response to our new partnership relationship was overwhelming. You showed incredible enthusiasm, care and concern for our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters at the Center. Over $14,000 was raised!!! All of that money will be used to directly support the mission of the Working Boy's Center to educate and care for families who are trying to work their way out of poverty. St. Mary's showed what it means to be part of a community - in our own parish and across continents. As we move forward with this new partnership, please continue to pray for our friends in Ecuador.