San Ildefonso, Tenejapa, Chiapas, Mexico
How We Came Together
To commemorate our centennial as a parish in 1989, we became one of the first parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to strike up a partnership with a parish in another part of the world. San Ildefonso is a parish like ours with a central church building, but it also serves about 90 communities dotting the high mountain ranges of central Chiapas.
Most of the parishioners are indigenous peoples descended from the Mayans. They dress in colorful, hand-woven garments and speak Tzeltal, a Mayan language from ancient times. Most are subsistence farmers, living off the beans and corn they scrape from the rocky soil; a lucky few prosper on hillsides that are perfect for growing coffee.
How This Partnership Inspires Us
- We share our faith. We’ve come to learn how closely our prayers, liturgies, songs, sacramental rituals, and parish traditions resemble theirs. This friendship allows us to experience the universality of our faith.
- We share a community. Chiapas seems far away, but we’ve come to know our sister parishioners and hold them in our hearts. Community is a central element of faith; not even Jesus lived his faith alone. In building solidarity with other disciples of Jesus–particularly the poor–we are carrying out the mission Jesus imparted to the first disciples.
- We share our gifts. San Ildefonso, while rich in faith and love, lacks many of the material advantages we enjoy. Over the years we have shared generously with our friends in Chiapas. But sharing from our wealth is no mere gesture of charity: it is an act of conversion. When we invest in friendship and solidarity with other disciples of Jesus, we make a fundamental change in the way we view our lives, our purpose, our place in the world.
Ways to Connect With Our Sister Parish
- Purchase coffee grown in Chiapas. Once a month after all Masses we sell coffee grown in Chiapas and roasted by Colectivo here in Milwaukee. Proceeds go to support our sister parish. An act of faith in every cup!
- Attend the Chiapas Chili Cook-Off. This annual event, held each winter, celebrates our relationship with San Ildefonso. We gather in the Cramer Fiesta Hall to sample top chili recipes from Saints Peter and Paul parishioners. Proceeds go to support San Ildefonso.
- Meet Padre Tonio. The pastor of San Ildefonso regularly visits Saints Peter and Paul to share news of life in his parish and worship with us.