Sister parishes see new Diocese of Jutiapa created in Guatemala

Some diocesan parishes will now be partnered as sisters with parishes in the new Diocese of Jutiapa after a portion of the Diocese of Jalapa was designated as this new diocese.

Pope Francis on Jan. 25 of this year announced the creation of the diocese of Jutiapa and also announced that their new bishop would Father Felix Eduardo Antonio Calderon Cruz, a diocesan priest from the west of the country, of the Diocese of San Marcos, Guatemala.

The new Diocese of Jutiapa has taken St. Francis of Assisi, as its patron saint. The cathedral church is located in the center of the city of Jutiapa.

The episcopal ordination of Father Antonio Calderon Cruz was held on April 23 with the participation of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Nicholas Thevening, the president of the Epsipoal Conference of Guatemala, the two archbishops of Guatemala, and bishops from Mexico, Colombia and Honduras.

The consecrating bishop was Bishop Julio Edgar Cabrera, bishop of the Diocese of Jalapa. Many priests from  the dioceses of Jalapa, Zacapa, and the archdiocese of San Marcos participated in the ordination liturgy.
The Mass was celebrated in Progreso, Jutiapa, a little more than nine miles from the seat of the diocese. The new cathedral church is undergoing construction. It is estimated that about 18,000 people attended the ordination and installation.

“Those who participated saw with great joy the presence of a delegation from the Diocese of Belleville that was strongly applauded as a sign of gratitude for your solidarity with our parishes,” Bishop Cabrera said. “People were united in an atmosphere of faith, joy, and especially gratitude to God and Pope Francisco.”

Thirty-six parishes in the Diocese of Belleville have sister parish relationships with parishes in Guatemala through Missions International, a nonprofit organization of lay Catholics that help to create sister parish relationships and service to Catholic parishes in Central and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Twelve of the 36 parishes will be in the new Jutiapa diocese. They are: Blessed Sacrament, Belleville; Holy Childhood of Jesus, Mascoutah; Holy Trinity, Fairview Heights; St Cecilia, Bartelso;  St. Clement, McLeansboro; St. John the Baptist, Piopolis; St. Dominic, Breese; St. John the Baptist, Red Bud; St. Mary, Mt. Vernon; St. Mary, Carlyle; St. Patrick, Ruma; and St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, Belleville.

Later this summer, “Bishop Cabrera will make a pastoral visit to the diocese to talk about the sister parish program and the new diocese,” Shelly Sands, Missions International board president, said.

On Aug. 9, Bishop Cabrera will be at St. Mary Parish in Trenton to greet the people of the diocese and make a presentation “about what it means for the sister parishes and for us,” Sands said.

He hopes to strengthen the sister parish relationships.

For more information, please go to the Missions International web site at to ask a question on their “contact us” section.