Photos contributed by John Whitney, SJ & Ben Woletz
Arcatao, El Salvador
Since 1987, St. Joseph Parish & School has enjoyed a relationship with the Jesuit parish of San Bartolomé (or Saint Bartholomew) in Arcatao, El Salvador. During the civil war, the St. Joseph community advocated for, prayed with, and supported the members of San Bartolomé as they struggled under the yoke of civil war.
While this is a relationship of accompaniment more than one based on missions, St. Joseph still provides help with scholarships, funding their water system, as well as other causes to help solidify their community, including the support of the creation of a night class to teach illiterate adults to read and write.
To date, more than 150 members of the St. Joseph community have traveled to Arcatao to visit, work with, and experience life in our sister parish. Without exception, every delegate was deeply moved by experiencing another culture, staying in their homes, and living a life unlike anything in Seattle.
In 2008, St. Joseph Parish & School began a relationship with St. Joseph Parish & School in Kinango, Kenya, part of the Archdiocese of Mombasa, Kenya. Each year, a delegation of teachers, former students, and parish members from the St. Joseph community has traveled to Kinango to visit the school and parish. During the visit delegation members teach lessons at the school, visit parishioner's homes, attend parish meetings, and learn a great deal about Kenyan culture.
In the summer of 2011, the George Hofbauer Learning Center at St. Joseph School in Kinango was completed. The building adds much needed classroom and technology space to the growing school in Kinango.
The St. Joseph Seattle community currently sponsors 8-10 students per year from St. Joseph Kinango, as they move from primary school to secondary school. Many of the students that we have sponsored are now in college. These students are selected because of their academic promise and financial need in partnership with the head of school of St. Joseph School Seattle, the pastor of St. Joseph Parish Kinango, and delegates from the Archdiocese of Mombasa.