Sacred Heart Parish in Dangriga, Belize
God bless as I greet you all. My name is Hairo Escobar, I am a Redemptorist missionary, and I want to invite you to discover our Redemptorist Sacred Heart Parish in Dangriga, Belize.
Our parish is ideal for the mission. We have cultural diversity: there are groups of Garifuna, Kekchi, Maya Mopan, creole people as well as those from Central America. They are all part of the richness that you can find in our country and our parish.
Most of the people live their faith in the Catholic Church and here it is also the Anglican church, the Methodist church, and other groups such as the Mennonites in their different forms of living their faith. There are also non-Catholic groups who are Christian; this is very common in Central America. Since 2015, our presence as redemptorist missionaries has not been interrupted because, apart from the consecrated members, there are also lay missionaries present from different parts of Central America. We have a shared experience of formation, where we have been working together to carry out our mission.
Our parish is relatively small. It is roughly about 2176 km2 in size. It includes the whole district of Stann Creek and is also part of another parish, called Toledo, in Belize. Our parish has twenty-one communities. Each is unique to the other, and this allows us to serve it pastorally. Most of the time, we need to be creative and accompany them (which is standard on such diverse missions). We are also present in the district’s two schools, where we try to coordinate activities that require our presence and participation.
We carry out our pastoral experience by participating in the community’s sacraments, living the Eucharist, baptisms, confessions and visiting and attending to the sick. We accept the challenges that each community presents to us, and this can range from the music, from the religious sphere (i.e., the way it is expressed), from the language… All this is part of the package of our mission here in Belize.
In each sector, we also have different realities. Here I am thinking about each community’s leaders, the catechists, the extraordinary ministers for the communion, the choirs, and the altar servers. We are called to pay special attention to each group regarding formation, retreats, and spiritual experiences because of the parish diversity. This helps them to grow in their ministries as they are carrying them out in our parish.
We like to say the parish is full of joy and filled with hope. That sums up our Sacred Heart Parish in Dangriga. We accept the challenges, and we try as best we can to respond to the needs of all. Just like the “yes” we gave to God’s calling, we try to repeat this “yes” to the Lord every day as redemptorist missionaries.
May God bless you all. And if you would like to come to visit, please get in touch with us, and you’ll be very welcome. God bless you all.
Fr. Hairo Escobar CSsR
Translation: Carlos A. Diego Gutiérrez CSsR