Debbie Dugan House - Belize City, Belize (March 24 - 30, 2019)
The Commissioning Ceremony for the St. John’s team leaving for Belize was held at the 5 p.m. Mass on March 23, 2019. This effort was dedicated to building the Debbie Dugan House, in honor of our faithful church Facilities Manager who passed away in the summer of 2017. The volunteers included many who had personal connections with Debbie, including her husband, mother, brother-in-law, and many friends. They were joined by Luke Boiarski, SCN, who continues to share many Belize experiences with our parish. The children’s choir assisted at the Mass by singing beautiful hymns, such as “We Are Called”. The parish and the school continue to partner in providing mission support.
The recipients of this house were Ms. Janice and her teenage daughter. Ms. Janice suffers from a chronic disease, while her daughter, Janella, struggles with cerebral palsy. The team was able to be part of a wonderful surprise for the daughter because Ms. Janice did not tell her daughter they were beginning their house that Monday. When Janella arrived home from school, she was amazed and surprised to see a house foundation and three walls already erected.
In addition to building, volunteers had the opportunity to lend proficiency in providing repairs at the Starfish House, the volunteers’ home for the week.
They were able to visit friends from previous house builds, the SCN House, and the Hand in Hand Ministries (HIHM) Fowler Community Outreach Center. The team spent time with the children in daycare and learned about the HIV/AIDS ministry. Our volunteers also learned that HIHM is building another facility with a commercial kitchen that homeowners will be able to use. The use of this kitchen will allow them to prepare and sell their goods in larger quantities, promoting some of HIHM’s goals of improving hygiene, earning a sufficient income, etc.
Everyone shared with Patrick what a great experience they had. The traditional house blessing proved to be extra special and emotional due to the love that Patrick and Debbie shared with each other, and with each of their close family and friends on this trip. Throughout the week, Sr. Luke noted “it was a wonderful trip to be with Debbie Dugan's family and friends. She had to be a shining star in [the] parish and…community."