Our parish “Santo Hermano Pedro” in Santo Tomas de Castilla, department of Izabal in Guatemala, extends to the San Gil Mountain Natural Reserve covering a large extension of rain forest and tropical land.
The parish is divided into 2 main sectors: the urban sector where the population is dense, and the rural sector where the q’eqchis Mayan people live. In this latter sector we have 26 “satellite villages” which Fr Anton Grech visits at least once a month.
In the main urban area, the majority of the people work in the port of Santo Tomas. Conditions here are many times precarious and extended families live together in small houses. The situation in the rural areas is worse. People here live in extreme poverty, in ‘homes’ made of sticks and palm and with no health facilities. They mainly depend on their crops like corn and black beans. The population in the main town is about 15,000 and in the rural Mayan area about 5,000. We have 2 big churches in the main town, one in “Colonia el Manantial” and the new big church called “Stella Maris” Church.
As a parish we are helping in building God’s reign through pastoral service and charity. Our parish is working hard to be missionary in all its aspects. The youth programme is at the centre of our pastoral plan.