New Chapel Replaces Sanctuary of Sticks and Tarps

Concrete and cinder-block building under construction with a few workers and a pile of dirt in front

Thanks to perseverance, prayer and a partnership between JustHope and the Northeast Ohio-based Hands United in Hope & Love, a joint ministry of St. John of the Cross and St. Mary Parishes, people in a remote area of Chacraseca, Nicaragua, who once worshiped in a makeshift sanctuary will soon gather in a permanent chapel.

JustHope is pleased to report that construction of the Chapel of the Divine Child is in-progress. In light of Nicaragua's ongoing civil unrest, the project demonstrates how collaboration, based on trust and mutual interest can accomplish great work. Below is a summary from our partner in this endeavor:

The Chapel of the Divine Child sits on property that a local man, Roger Cortez, donated several years ago so people in the Mojón Sur 1 sector who found it difficult to travel more than an hour by foot to Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish could have a permanent worship space close enough to their homes to attend masses regularly. The local pastor, Padre Tomás, dedicated the property to that purpose.

Padre Tomás told us about the property in early 2016, and during a partnership visit a year later we organized a Bible study there. We were overwhelmed by the local community’s devotion to God and to their church.

As we sang and prayed together under the shade of the makeshift sticks and tarps that they called “church,” we came to a clear understanding that “church” is truly defined by the people and not so much by the building. Still, we all came away convinced to help the community any way we could to provide a more suitable permanent worship space.

Not long after he dedicated the property, Padre Tomás was transferred to a parish in León and Padre Harold took over at Sacred Heart of Jesus. We approached both of them with the idea of building a chapel, and they were tremendously supportive.

And so, with generous financial support from members of our home parishes in suburban Cleveland, concrete block walls and a solid roof — not sticks and tarps — provide shelter and a permanent place for the local community to gather for worship.

- Dale George, Hands United in Hope & Love