Produced by the COMMUNITY OF SAINT PAUL and CREARSA
LA SAGRADA FAMILIA PARISH
The Community of Saint Paul in the DR is based in the parish La Sagrada Familia of Sabana Yegua (Azua province), since that parish is under the care of priests from our Community.
FOSTERING CHRISTIAN LIFE
The promotion of the Christian life takes place through regular celebration of the sacraments in the twenty-two villages and communities that make up the parish, which is divided into nine districts. Other aspects of this effort are the catechesis for children, Christian formation for adults, and Bible and liturgical workshops. Furthermore, the work coordinates the twenty-two community councils and nine parish district councils.
In 2013, we initiated a school of theology for the laity, which is now part of the national plan of the Dominican Episcopal Conference. People from several parishes from the province of Azua participate weekly in the courses offered by this school.
PRISON MINISTRY AT THE “KM 15” JAIL
The parish organizes an adult school in the public jail “Km. 15”, which holds 600 inmates and located within the parish’s territory. There, two prisoners give basic education classes to another twenty inmates. The parish provides materials and a small salary for the teachers, so that the school can continue providing its services. A priest from the CSP visits the prison once a week.
With the goal of providing spiritual and material support for the more than 5,000 Haitians that live in the parochial territory, the CSP has established an integral plan for a Haitian ministry. The following actions help to accomplish this goal:
Legal assistance. Different activities take place to help educate immigrants about their basic rights. The CSP works with local organizations, particularly with the Haitian consulate in Santo Domingo, to obtain the documents that are necessary for the process of regularizing the immigrant Haitian population in the DR.
School for Haitian immigrants. A school opens daily in the chapel of Los Cartones neighborhood in Sabana Yegua, where two teachers and some volunteers provide two hours of class (from 6 pm to 8 pm). Around 40 adults attend these classes every day, after working in the fields. They learn Spanish as well as how to read and write in their own language, Haitian Creole.
Program for cultural integration. This program offers classes to those who represent the parish’s Dominican population. Around 15 people attend this course, where they learn the Creole language and various aspects of Haitian culture.
Catechism and celebration of the sacraments. The Eucharist is celebrated in Haitian Creole in Sabana Yegua and weekly Liturgies of the Word in other communities of the parish. Formation classes for pastoral leaders are also offered, as well as Bible workshops for catechists.
Health Center in Sabana Yegua. This center offers general medical care as well as pediatrics, orthodontics, gynecology, nutrition and laboratory services. The parish’s pharmacy, where low-cost medicines are offered, also functions in the Health Center.
Rural first-aid stations. Community leaders in several villages have a first-aid station in their homes, with medicines supplied by the parish, so that they can be distributed to areas that do not have easy access to a pharmacy. Currently there are eighteen such rural first-aid stations throughout the parish territory.
NUTRITIONAL CENTERS FOR CHILDREN
San Agustín Nutritional Center (Sabana Yegua). Sixty children, ages 2 to 6, attend this center on a daily basis. In addition to offering breakfast, lunch, and preschool classes, the children are examined weekly by a doctor. Monthly formation workshops for the mothers are also organized.
La Divina Misericordia Child Care Center. This center is also opened Monday through Friday for children ages 2 to 6. They receive the same services as those provided in the San Agustín Center. Fifty children from the neighborhood called El Alto (a section of Los Ladrillos rural village) attend this center.
Los Negros Nutritional Center. This center serves 25 children from Los Negros rural community daily, offering the same services that are available in the other two facilities.
PHYSICAL REHABILITATION CENTER
The physical rehabilitation program is opened Monday through Friday in the facilities of the San Agustín Nutritional Center in Sabana Yegua. An average of thirty patients are treated daily. Once a week, the physical therapist conducts home visits to care for those who cannot travel to the center.
Nazareth Vocational Center. This center offers different programs to support women and youth from low-income families in Sabana Yegua by training them in skills that will help them acquire jobs. The center offers dress-making, sewing and beautician classes. Other classes where the students learn how to make a variety of handicrafts are also offered, so that people’s creativity can be fostered and some may be able to start their own income-generating home business. Around 100 people, mostly women, participate in the Nazareth Vocational Center.
Children’s Libraries. In addition to the library for children open two afternoons per week in the parish in Sabana Yegua, there are already seven other libraries in various villages of the area. The purpose of these libraries is to promote reading habits in the children and to provide them with an appropriate place to study. The parish has also established reading and writing rooms in five communities, to provide reinforcement for children ages 8 to 12.
Scholarship program. With this program, the CSP helps young people from Sabana Yegua and its surrounding rural communities, whose families do not have the resources to provide them with an education. Every year, the program benefits between 60 and 80 children, teenagers and youth.
The parish participates in the construction of latrines in its 22 communities, for families that lack this basic service. Between 200 and 300 latrines are built every year.
“LA SAGRADA FAMILIA” BAKERY
This bakery was established by the parish La Sagrada Familia with the aim of providing work opportunities to families with limited resources. Currently the bakery provides financial stability to 13 families from Sabana Yegua and it is a self-sustaining project for income generation.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR PEOPLE WITHOUT A BIRTH CERTIFICATE
The parish offers a lawyer who processes documentation for people who lack a birth certificate. Approximately 100 people are legalized every year through this program.
INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT IN FIVE RURAL COMMUNITIES
This project, aimed at improving the quality of life of five communities within La Sagrada Familia parish, lasted almost three years, and it was developed in conjunction with FUNDASEP (the foundation for development from the Catholic Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana), and with the financial support of “Manos Unidas” and “Nuevos Caminos” (two Spanish agencies for development). The project, which ended in 2016, has achieved a dramatic improvement in water access as well as health and education services. It also provided income generation initiatives for families and community housing infrastructure. Approximately 2,000 people have benefited from this program. At the end of 2014 the water supply project in the communities called Altagracia and Cañada de Piedra was completed, benefiting 500 people who now have running water in their homes. One year later, at the end of 2015, the water supply project for the community in the village of Km. 8 was finalized, benefiting 160 people. A school bus was donated by the Dominican government for the communities Km. 7 and Km. 8. The bus takes students from these two rural communities to the main High School in Sabana Yegua. A basketball court for the youth from Km. 7 was also recently finalized.