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Mount Carmel Catholic Mission, Belize




Father Mark
Dear Friends of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, friends of S.O.L.T., friends of the Benque-Belize Mission Peace be with you!


Welcome to the first publication of The Harvest! Here serving in the mission we can often feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and the many needs of Gods people. Taking pause to reap the good things He has done is essential for us to not become discouraged and to not lose sight of the One who desires to serve in and through us. As well, in stepping back, we are reminded of the greater Body of Christ, and all those with whom we have communion, collaboration and support in the good works of God. We hope that The Harvest can be a way in which we can gather, in a sense, the goodness of God in His vineyard and the ways He has moved and reached His people. As with all good harvests, we wish to share these fruits with you those who truly have participated in the sowing and nurturing in the lives of Gods people through your friendship, support and connection with Mount Carmel Parish and Mission. Parish ministry never fails to encompass every aspect of life and hence a great number and variety of ministries come into our lives here: some are spontaneous, others more organized, some are traditional while still others are creative and innovative. Always they bring us blessings and challenges at the same time. As collaborators, either through the support of friendship, of prayers or of finances (and

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often through all three means!) you are real contributors to the works we are challenged and privileged to do here. It is only right and just that you would know how your generosity is multiplied and transformed into concrete blessings in the lives of Gods people, and as well that you would know of the various and continuous needs they experience. I do believe that the communion and connection with other people from other cultures and countries is extraordinarily enriching, and the satisfaction of knowing that one life has breathed a little easier due to ones efforts is incomparable. You quite directly affect the lives and futures of a vast number of people through your connection with us alone. You help make Christs own personal love and concern present and palpable in individual lives by meeting the needs of the least of his brothers. You deserve to know it, to feel it, and to receive the Lords own gratitude for recognizing and finding Him in them. Probably the most direct way we feel the blessing, goodness and beauty of God in the mission is in the many children we serve in our communities. They manifest to us pure, innocent, unabated JOY in their smiles. That payment alone is worth any effort and sacrifice! It is for that reason that we have them in our cover, for their smiles are the greatest symbol of the joy of the harvest!

May God bless and keep you, With gratitutde, Fr. Mark

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By: Zach Butz

My decision to come to this mission came upon me like a shadow in the night. I had graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City and was at a crossroads. I didnt get into any of my graduate schools that I had applied to and I wasnt ready to join the labor force with a steady 9-5 job. One week after graduation I got a call from a friend who mentioned he was going to Belize

for a year of service. There it was, my option for my next year that would provide me with the instability that I was craving. After amazing support from friends and family I was able to raise the money and head off to Belize. Excitement, nervousness, stress, friendship and a handful of other feelings have poured through me during my 6 months here in Belize. The showers have been frigid, the constant spoonfuls of beans and rice have dissolved whatever taste buds I had left, and the students of Mount Carmel High School have pushed me to the very brink of sanity. But within all of that I still have the support of the volunteers who are with me step for step and doing it with a smile. Besides, within every instance of idiocy played by the students I immediately reflect on who I was

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at their age and who I am now. I was not better than them in any way and in a lot of ways I was worse. This mission is a beautiful place for self reflection. I have never seen clearer the hedonistic wants and shallow desires that mar our unadulterated human spirit found in disillusioned society. The affects that I am having on students and natives I cannot comment on, however I can make remarks on the affects the students are having on me. Excitement, nervousness, stress, friendship and a handful of other feelings have poured through me during my 6 months here in Belize. These individuals, truly God-given and unique, are the epitome of inspiration. Knowing what these young adults go through on a daily basis with home life and societal demands; for them to still have the energy to stride through their personal pain and continue to better themselves through education and religion makes any problem I have ever had to face seem puerile. I have held students when their parents past away, I have celebrated with students as they have won competitions, I have laughed, prayed, and eaten with students and I look forward to continuing to learn from them with every day God has granted me here in Belize.

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of a Lifetime
Meet Jose 18, one of the recipients of the Mount Carmel Scholarship program. Jose, 18, enjoys reading, listening to music, and playing the drums.
The Mount Carmel program attend Parish helps high


Scholarship young


school who otherwise would not be able to afford tuition. The costs of tuition, plus books and uniforms, are an obstacle

So what is your favorite class?

My favorite class is religion. Because it teaches me many good things, (like) on how to see women. And it makes me grow closer to my faith. I also like biology. I love biology! One of my favorite subjects apart from religion

for many students whose families cannot pay these expens es. Currently the scholarship

program supports 60 students out of a student body of 420.

Because of the things we can see inside of our body, our inner organs and those thingsand we interact with nature--that is why my favorite color is greenbecause I like nature!

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How has having a scholarship affected you?

A lot, because my familywe dont have enough money. I live with my mother. Five of us are in school. We dont have a lot of money to be paying school.I wish I could get another scholarship to UB to continue studying!

What led you to want to go to HS?

I want to be someone important in the future. I want to continue my education. I want to show everybody that no matter how poor you are you can still achieve your goals.

Who is someone you look up to?

To my mother, because she is a single mother. She has been there for us kidsshe is like a father and mother to me. My father died when I was nine months (old). She is my inspiration.

You have your whole life ahead of you. Between now and the time that you die, what are three things you would like to experience or do?
I would help my mother. Thats one. After I finish studies. The other one-- to marry, and be a father. I want to experience thatto be a father. A good father, not a bad father.

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of a Lifetime
Vicky, a fourth form student at Mount Carmel High School and scholarship recipient, speaks about MCHS, education and faith.




Vicky from

both Mount in


What led you to want to go to high school?

My big inspiration is my sister who is studying in the United States. Although my mom is not paying (for) her studies, she also has someone who




June 2013.

Congratula -

tions to Vicky, Jose and all our young graduates!

is helping her. She was my inspiration because she went through difficulties when she was in high school. She couldnt afford to study, (but) they helped her too, so I decided to continue studying. Fr. Mark told me about the scholarship.

What is one of the best things about being at MCHS?

Well, I think it is the Church, Catholic Church. For me, it is an inspiration to be here because with the things I learn I teach my little sister or especially other persons who are neighbors who cannot afford high school.

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What do you teach them about?

Faithto have faith in God, and to be respectful to people who are older than them.

How has being a student here helped you grow as a person?

When I was in first form, I was immature. Now, in this level, I feel like I understand more. And I am more respectfulwhen I was in first form, I used to play a lot!

How has having a scholarship helped you?

Although my mom works, it is hard for them to give me the money I need (for school), which we dont have. I give thanks to those persons who are helping me, because if it wouldnt be for their help, I wouldnt be here, I wouldnt be in fourth form.

How will your education help your family or community?

If I continue studying, then later on I can get a job. I can help my mother. I can also help my brother and sister so that they can continue studying.

What are three things you would like to do with your life before you die?
I would like to play football (soccer) for the last time, to climb the mountains, and I would like to spend time with my family.

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The feeding program at Mount Carmel Primary School is a valuable service to the young students who receive a healthy lunch. Funded by Cross International, the program began in 2006 with 33 students. Now 100 students from Infant I to Standard IV benefit from the program on a daily basis. The students who are most in need of such help are able to receiving a nourishing meal, helping their personal development and school performance. Many thanks to Cross International and its benefactors for helping these children!

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Mount Carmel Catholic Mission Church Street Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District, Belize, Central America


What is the mission of the People of God? To bring into the world the hope and salvation of God: to be a sign of God's love which calls everyone to have a friendship with him; to be the yeast that leavens the dough, salt that gives flavor and protects from corruption, light that illuminates.

Pope Francis