Jubilee Year of Mercy's July Action Give Drink to the Thirsty and the Office for World Mission's Water Project for La Sagrada Familia
As part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, each month there is a focus on a corporal work of Mercy. The action for July is Give Drink to the Thirsty, which centers on water conservation at home and promoting and supporting access to clean and safe water around the world. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has included the Office for World Mission's Water Project for La Sagrada Familia, the archdiocesan sister parish, as part of this initiative.
For 35 years, the Office for World Mission has worked with the people of La Sagrada Familia parish in a spirit of shared faith and friendship; one aspect of this mission to promote safety, good health, and community. (For more information, see "Introduction" below)
Access to clean, safe drinking water in much of the parish is limited and expensive, which is a danger to the health, safety, and financial well-being of residents. (See "Background" section below)
The Water Project seeks to provide effective, inexpensive water filters to the people of La Sagrada Familia. Our cost is $38.00 per filter, which will be available to residents at the reduced cost of $7.00. For specifics on the project and costs, please see "The Water Project" section below).
To donate, you can send your check or money order, payable to Office for World Mission to
Office for World Mission
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912
If you have questions or would like to donate by credit card, please call us at 414-758-2280.
To watch a brief video about water projects in La Sagrada Familia, filmed in the parish, please scroll down to the bottom of the page (or click here to be taken to the video)
Introduction--The Role of World Mission and the Importance of the Water Project
The Office for World mission serves as the link for the local church to address the global needs of the world. One of the primary ways we live this mission is through our relationship with our archdiocesan sister parish, La Sagrada Familia, in the Dominican Republic.
Our collective effort to provide clean water is one way we respond to this particular corporal work of mercy. On the surface it is about clean water for some of the most water challenged people living in this arid 95 square mile parish community. Digging below the surface it’s about saving lives and respect for the dignity of the human person.
Through your support we do not only provide water; we also help promote safety, good health, and community. Through providing access to safe, local sources of water we lessen the dangers of traveling miles for water to take care of one's family. Through building latrines we avoid contamination of water sources, promoting sanitary conditions (leading to a decrease in preventable diseases) and supporting the dignity of the human spirit. Through bringing people together to help build the pipelines and giving them access to technical expertise, we build community and empower local leadership. In each of these instances, we fulfill the corporal works of mercy and open the door for the spiritual work of mercy to begin.
Background on the Water Problem: The High Costs of Dirty and Clean Water
Water in homes is not drinkable and can cause disease.
Many communities of La Sagrada Familia have a water system and water reaches their homes. This water is mostly used for personal hygiene, for cleaning the house, and for cooking. However, this water is not treated to be drinkable and people often get diseases from it. Waterborne diseases can be very serious, particularly for those who cannot afford or do not have access to the necessary medical treatments.
Clean water may be purchased, but is too expensive for many families.
Drinking water must mainly be purchased in the local shops. The price is 30 pesos (about $0.70 USD) per 5 gallons, which is what a family of 6 drinks per day. The average expenditure of such a family monthly is then about 900 pesos ($20.00 USD). While it may seem a small cost to a family here, this amount can be a significant financial burden on a family in the parish.
Other sources of clean water involve dangerous and physically demanding travel.
Some who could not purchase water would travel long distances to bring water to their homes, facing significant dangers and hardships in the process. As described by the parish:
"Women and children walking 3 to 4 miles minimally to cross the state roadway, trying to avoid speeding cars and trucks, risking injury or death to collect water for their homes. Returning with heavy water filled 10 liter cans, once again having to navigate the roadway to cross the street and make the trek home. Upon reaching their homes, they ration this precious resource to be as wise and efficient in its consumption, and administer the water very carefully because they know they will soon have to go back to walk in the sun once the tins are empty…”
World Mission and the staff and parishioners of La Sagrada Familia are therefore seeking a solution that will provide families with safe access to clean water without significant financial burden.
The Water Project: How You Can Help Now
Local health campaigns continue to work to educate people on the dangers of unclean drinking water and how to protect themselves. Also, thanks to recent efforts, three of the smaller communities in La Sagrada Familia now have safe, local access to clean water through the construction of a pipe and storage system. This system, however, cannot service all communities in the parish, and construction of additional systems takes time and resources. A parishwide solution is needed right now to provide residents with clean, safe water.
An inexpensive and immediate possibility is for families is to get a water filter, which will provide free clean water for the whole family, avoiding the expense of purchasing water and the dangers of using unclean water.
World Mission/La Sagrada Familia hopes to purchase 300 water filters at 1,700 pesos (about $38.00 USD each), for a total of 510,000 pesos (approximately $11,400.00 USD).
As 1,700 pesos/$38.00 USD is a very high amount for most of the families, parishioners could purchase the water filters at the reduced price of 300 pesos (~$7.00 USD). This small cost will help provide some funding for up to 60 additional filters and will be an incentive for parishioners to take care of their filters to afford additional costs.
To Donate: Send your check or money order, payable to Office for World Mission to
Office for World Mission
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912
If you would like to donate by credit card, please call us at 414-758-2281.
In this Year of Mercy, initiatives like The Water Project for La Sagrada Familia are a tangible sign of our spiritual connection with our sisters and brothers around the world. It is with the deepest gratitude that we thank your for generosity and for your prayers. The people of La Sagrada Familia join us in wishing you many blessings.
We have a wonderful video about some aspects of clean water access in the parish. It was filmed in La Sagrada Familia and features Fr. Juan Camacho, one of the Parish pastors, and Archdiocese of Milwaukee Diaconate candidates taking part in the Societal Ministry Pilgrimage. Fr. Juan shares information how other water projects have impacted the community! Click below to watch! (You may need to turn up your volume to hear the audio)