A dream fulfilled, a vision intact
The Honduras Mission from St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Parish in The Woodlands, Texas had its first mission trip in 2014 after years of development. The Franciscan University of Steubenville started traveling to two remote communities in Honduras around the year 2000. In 2010, our beloved Deacon Mike Mims partnered with the Franciscan University by attending their annual spring break mission trip. These trips triggered Deacon Mims’ dream of providing medical and dental services on an annual week of mission.
The communities of La Colonia and El Mirador were a seven-hour drive from the nearest international airport in a mountainous area near Trujillo, Honduras. The last few miles of the drive were on dirt paths only passable by 4-wheel drive pickups when it was not raining. The communities did not have running water or electricity. The conditions and logistical challenges were extreme. Deacon Mike Mims utilized his leadership skills to start fulfilling his dream. He extended his partnership to the Franciscan School in San Pedro Sula, partnered with our Deacon Mike Mort, and rallied our parish to make it happen. The dream was fulfilled in October of 2014 when over 50 missionaries provided medical care, dental care, catechism, and sacraments for a week to these communities.
The vision continues each year through our annual mission trip by following our mission statement: Bearing witness to the Word of God, the Honduras Mission promotes dignity of life by healing the sick, celebrating the Sacraments, and making disciples.
Growth of the spirit since our first mission in 2014
The biggest growth has been in the practice of the Catholic faith and spirit of the communities that we serve. They are attending more services and receiving more sacraments while spreading the Good News to other communities. A priest or nun previously visited these communities about two or three times a year. With our help, a priest or nun now visits these communities more than once a month. In 2014, we only had a few baptisms. In 2015, we had more baptisms and added first communions. In 2016, we had 10 Catholic weddings. In February of 2017, we had 12 confirmations during the dedication of a new chapel.
In 2014, we helped La Colonia build a new chapel and El Mirador expand their chapel. We wired both of these chapels for future electricity and La Colonia received electricity in 2016 and El Mirador in 2017. After our first mission trip, La Colonia reached out to Las Brisas and helped them restore an abandoned chapel. We also assisted Esperancita in building a new chapel because they had outgrown their tiny chapel. These houses of worship are the center of community activity and are used nearly every day.
2016 was a major growth year. We started serving Las Brisas and Esperancita. The catholic spirit in Esperancita was already thriving so we were learning from them. They were very appreciative of our medical and dental services. We helped all four communities extend their schools past the sixth grade. We also partnered with Water With Blessings to train Water Women to provide clean water in all four communities. This is improving the health of the people and especially the children.
The original vision continues while we grow both their spirit and our spirit through our connections.