Julian Jagudilla Participates in Medical Mission

Marc Kielty Friar News

RALEIGH, N.C. — Julian Jagudilla, OFM, pastoral associate of St. Francis of Assisi Church here, joined the parish’s recent medical mission to Guatemala to help the people of a Mayan village where the parish has had a long affiliation.

The medical mission is composed mostly of doctors and nurses from the parish and was organized to serve the Mayan village of Las Margaritas in the mountainous regions outside Guatemala City.

The Feb. 25 to March 5 trip was “tedious and stressful, especially when our medical supplies were held for two days by Guatemalan customs at the airport,” said Julian. Approximately 15 doctors and nurses went on the trip, as well as three non-medical participants including Julian.

Julian-r“Our trip from the airport to the village took 10 hours, most of which was spent on dirt roads,” Julian said. “We reached the village around 10 p.m. and were greeted by the hospitality of the villagers. Life in the village was very basic and, for the most part, rustic. In some parts of the country, and even in the village, the visages of the civil war can still be felt.”

One of the signs of the ill economy is the daily minimum wage, he said, equivalent to the cost of a Big Mac from McDonald’s. The villagers don’t have much but are very happy and content, said Julian. “They don’t have the luxuries that we enjoy here, but they have true and perfect joy.”

St. Francis of Assisi Church, in close coordination with Sister Parish, Inc., has been running this trip for almost 16 years. “We send delegations to the Mayan village of Las Margaritas II as often as twice a year and as few as every other year,” said Julian.

The Raleigh parish began its relationship with the village of Las Margaritas when David McBriar, OFM, thought of an outreach mission for the parish. ”He found a perfect match and coordinated with Sister Parish, Inc.,” said Julian.

— Marc Kielty is communications coordinator for St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh.