The San Lucas Parish Volunteers will form a core team of capable, motivated individuals who have chosen and have been chosen to live and work on a volunteer basis in the San Lucas Parish for an extended period of time. The volunteers will comprise a community dedicated to learning from, respecting, walking in solidarity with, and lending gracious support to the people of San Lucas and the mission’s project of sustainable, integral human development.
Volunteers will humbly yet critically interact with their surroundings, supporting one another in their experience of learning, personal growth, and the exploration of their faith and values. They will also guide and support short-term visitors in their respective learning experience. By the time of their departure, volunteers will have become well-enough informed to be able to intelligently discuss the place in which they have lived (i.e. the mission philosophy, history, and efforts, and the history and culture of Guatemala), and serve as active representatives for the principles of social justice, wherever their paths may lead them. Volunteers who hold themselves to a high standard contribute to an environment in which other volunteers and visitors are similarly held to a high standard of conduct. Through active accompaniment (i.e. working with the Guatemalan people and forming relationships with the San Lucas community at large), they will learn and grow as mature human beings and engage in a mutually beneficial relationship with the Parish.
As is the case with the Parish’s community development efforts, the volunteer experience will affect sustainable change in the long-term volunteers that influences the way in which they carry themselves and choose to live their lives after San Lucas. The San Lucas Mission Volunteer Program is aimed to foster a spirit of service and form men and women for others. Volunteer Alumni, who also make up an important community, will serve as ambassadors for social justice, and will leave San Lucas as more thoughtful, aware, reflective, active, and responsible global citizens.
The Volunteer Program is committed to the support of the San Lucas Parish mission, that is, the project of integral human development guided by the expressed-felt need of the Parish community and the people of San Lucas Tolimán, and grounded in the principals of Catholic Social Teaching.
The empowerment of the local community and the sustainability of development projects are possible only through a relationship of equality between Guatemalan and North American counterparts in the effort. The presence of long-term volunteers – a small group of individuals who have the opportunity to become intimately familiar with the Parish and its work – emphasizes and reinforces the Mission’s efforts to create such a relationship. This relationship represents an attempt to break the cycle of inequality and an historically oppressive role of outsiders. Volunteers participate in the active accompaniment of the people of San Lucas, and work to form a cross-cultural community based upon solidarity, mutual respect, and the desire to learn.
Through their experience here, volunteers set an example of “another way” of involvement of outsiders in developing countries, and learn to more critically examine their own role in the “big picture.” This “other way” is focused on learning and solidarity, rather than direct physical intervention with the goal of “helping” or “doing”. Volunteers communicate the Parish philosophy as well as what they have personally learned both to visitors to the Mission as well as to others once they have left San Lucas, serving as ambassadors for the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and, more broadly, social justice.
Therefore, our Mission is to work with and help educate responsible global citizens, and to foster positive cross-cultural exchange in which all parties benefit and are able to learn in a safe environment of respect and mutual understanding.