Holy Spirit parish and Clínica Santa María de Guadalupe was founded by Fr. Rudy Valenzuela, FSP, 15 years ago in one of the poorest and most desolated areas in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico. Fr. Rudy belongs to the Friars of the Sick Poor of Los Angeles, a Public Association of Consecrated Life, based in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and serving various healthcare and education-related ministries.
In 2020, and while other private and public healthcare institutions were not taking patients with COVID-19, the clínica provided healthcare services to over 45,000 patients at low or no cost, taking care of those affected by the COVID-19 virus.
Also, throughout 2020 & 2021, parishioners and other people of good will have organized themselves to deliver weekly food items to about 30 families living in the periphery of San Luis, thus alleviating some of the financial burden that affected many families, especially those more vulnerable.
Throughout the year, the community has continued to provide spiritual assistance and daily mass via internet. We held outdoor burial services for the dead, and assisted the sick with the sacraments following the recommended health protocols as insomuch the circumstances allowed.
Since the end of last year, the church has opened its doors to limited numbers of parishioners, especially to celebrate the sacraments of initiation for the couple of hundred children and young adults who were not able to receive them last year, as well as daily and Sunday masses.
Needless to say, things have changed and life will never be the same as this pandemic has affected us greatly. The increase of non-paying patients, the additional financial burden and need for more medical supplies and equipment to protect patients and medical staff, the worsening local and national economy, and the increased unemployment rate in Mexico have all resulted in an increased struggle to provide much needed healthcare and spiritual services to the poorest of the poor.
By Rev. Rudy Valenzuela, FSP