In the middle of a field in rural southwest Georgia, not far from the Florida border, sits an unassuming house. Looking from the outside, you wouldn’t know the great things happening inside. What you will find inside this simple house are our missionaries serving the spiritual needs of the farm workers and their families who work in the surrounding fields.
Fathers Victor Canela and Raúl Vasquez, from nearby St. Joseph Parish in Bainbridge are always looking for alternative ways to see to their parishioners’ spiritual needs. Setting up Casa de Evangelización Guadalupe (Guadalupe House of Evangelization) is a way for them to reach more people. The farm workers in the area struggle with poverty, lack of education, and housing. Because of their circumstances, many do not own cars nor have the means to travel to the church in Bainbridge.
Father Raúl explains, “We figured that if they didn’t have the means to come to us, we would go to them. This work allows us to follow in the footsteps of our founder, Fr. Thomas Judge. Preserving the Catholic faith, especially among those who are forgotten in today’s society, is the foundation of our missionary work.”
The farm workers’ community is rich in faith and yearns for a deeper connection with God. Fathers Victor and Raúl are busy with outreach programs such as, teaching the laity how to become more actively involved in the Church. Many men and women are interested in participating in lay ministry as lectors, and helping with retreats. Father Raul, a talented musician himself, also offers guitar and choir lessons. The fruits of their labors can be seen at the weekly Saturday Mass held at Casa de Evangelización Guadalupe.
On Thursdays, our missionaries try to visit a different family each week. Each visit is different. At some homes, they have Bible studies or teach catechism. At others, they may pray the Rosary or pray for the sick or for other intentions. There is a sea of opportunity for the Holy Spirit to flourish in this poor farming community.
Support of our good works allows our missionaries there to serve a spirit-filled community who celebrate their Catholic faith even in the poorest of circumstances. The men, women, and children are forever grateful for the love and support they receive.