The Beginning: For the people of the parish of
Not giving up, the school committee and parents in
But then the dream was threatened! After the buildings were completed, the teachers hired and the students enrolled, the school board was told that the government would not assist with the salaries of the teachers as promised. As a result, Fe y Alegria said that they would also withdraw their support. The school committee was devastated with this development since the community did not have the financial resources to pay the teachers’ salaries.
Being persistent and not wanting the dream to escape, Rosie, a school board member, knew that a Catholic lay mission organization, Sending Out Servants, was visiting in a near-by parish. She presented the plight of the school to them and asked them if they could help.
SOS relayed this predicament to Father Fran Pistorius, the pastor of St. Ignatius. He agreed with the recommendation of the pastoral council to underwrite teachers salaries, but only for a year. If the parish responded to the needs of the school, the support would be on-going. A Mission Outreach Committee was formed to organize and assist with the raising of funds and a letter of commitment was sent to Father Julio, pastor of the parish at that time.
Soon afterwards, Father Julio was called back to his home country of
The Visit: Father Sebastian proved to be a wonderful person and the fund raiser went well with his winning ways, shy smile and personal caring. Coming to
Since 2001 Father Sebastian has been making yearly trips to our parish in November to thank everyone for making a parochial education a reality for the children of the Chiche. He would also extend greetings from Chiche and request the continuation of funds for another year of operation. Their committee, teachers, students, families of Chiche and St. Thomas Parish realize that their school has succeeded because of the financial generosity of the parishioners of St. Ignatius Loyola.
The School: Our parish’s response to the school has been overwhelming. The student enrollment was more than anticipated; the school’s policy is offer the opportunity of an education and not to turn anyone away. The teacher’s meeting room, principal’s office and the equipment rooms had to be used as classrooms. The principal’s office was moved to a storage room.
There are approximately 35 students in each classroom of the lower grades with two rooms for each first and second grade. The classes become smaller in the upper grades; the families need the assistance of the older children to help sustain the family.
April 2008: Father Sebastian, who has visited our parish annually for the past 6 years, will be transferred from St. Tomas parish (the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe School), effective April 15. He will become pastor in a tiny
Father Sebastian sends his most sincere appreciation to St. Ignatius for the help and support shown to him and the school over the last 6 years. He is very sad to be moving, but assures us that the new pastor will continue the work at the school that St. Ignatius has made possible over the years. He will be replaced by one of his seminary classmates, Father Mateo.Mily, the first principal of the school who visited in November 2007 with Father Sebastian, also expressed her appreciation to the people of St. Ignatius. In a letter she said the following: “I thank God infinitely for giving me the marvelous gift of your (St. Ignatius) friendship. With you I have discovered the significance of being brothers and sisters in Christ, members of one community. I will love all of you forever with a great, profound and sincere love. Every time I go to Communion I think of you and ask that God bless all of you in your life, in your family, and in your work.”