Friends of San Lucas

Mission Statement

"The Friends of San Lucas was created to carry on the legacy of Fr. Greg Schaffer, by listening, responding to and walking in solidarity with the people of San Lucas Tolimán in an effort to alleviate the suffering and dependency created by the ‘process of poverty’.”

We recognize that we are to be a bridge, to share with our brothers and sisters in the United States of America who have been associated with our mission, by offering hospitality, and by sharing the culture, struggles, hopes, and aspirations of the people of Guatemala and through this avenue of solidarity provide funding to keep the projects going.

As Jesus responded to people and their needs, we believe that it is or mission to respond to the expressed felt needs of the people of San Lucas Toliman and the surrounding area, that form the larger community. We will uphold the Christian Social Doctrine that Fr. Greg weaved through all his decisions and practices.

Our Philosophy

Beginning foremost with recognition and appreciation for the rich Maya culture and the heartfelt understanding that God’s love is for all, efforts at the San Lucas Mission attempt to respond, as Jesus did, to the expressed felt need of the people, using the Preferential Option for the Poor as its foundation, and drawing on Christian Social Teaching to guide efforts in the integral human development of our people and community.

Our Founder

Fr. Gregory Schaffer was born in St. Paul, studied at St. Paul Seminary and was ordained as a Catholic priest for the Diocese of New Ulm. But he found his true calling in Guatemala.

He hadn't anticipated his appointment as a diocesan missionary there in 1963. Yet he stayed for more than four decades, leading project after project to better the lives of the Guatemalan people he loved. 

Over his decades there, Father Greg oversaw the building of a parish church building, school, hospital, and program of agricultural education. He had a relentless drive for social justice implemented among the rural poor. Over time, he helped more than 3,700 families acquire 3 acres of property for farming. 

He won many awards for his work, including honorary degrees and the Order of the Quetzal, bestowed by the Guatemalan government. Father Greg, whose caring and charisma drew thousands of volunteers to San Lucas Toliman, died May 24, 2012 of lymphoma. He was 78.


Bill Peterson
Executive Director

Terri Wong
Director of Administration and Finance

Alex Muff
Director of Marketing and Communications

Ann Hagberg
Office Assistant

Advisory Council 

Jereme Abshire
Dave Davis
Mike Greene
Bridget Hermer
Paul Leighton

Byron Madonado

Brian Mathiowetz
Arch Mrkvicka
Ana Ovalle
Fr. Phil Schotzko

Chuck Spaeth
Heather Statz
Rogers Strickland