At The Shepherd’s Café, we love brewing you fresh coffee and serving delectable bites of refreshment while you listen to good Catholic musicians every month. But what we really love is doing it with the double purpose of fulfilling one of our missions for The Shepherd’s Café - the global goal of helping out impoverished farming communities in South America. We do this through Mission Coffee Ministry, a sub-ministry of The Shepherd’s Café.
Coffee—The Common Denominator
Shepherd’s Café Founder Yong Oh made her first Nicaraguan excursion in March 2011, where she connected with Fr. John Anthony, CFR of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Although she first met Fr. John Anthony in 2005 on a pilgrimage to Poland prior to attending World Youth Day in Germany, his family lived in Texas. He was the person to invite Yong on what would be an inspiring Honduran mission trip in 2007, where her eyes were first opened to the dire needs of the Honduran coffee farmers.
When Fr. John Anthony was assigned to Nicaragua, Yong saw an opportunity to expand Mission Coffee Ministry to another third world country. Fr. John Anthony introduced her to Fr. Sebastian Lopez because he serves the poorest parish in the Diocese of Matagalpa and badly needed financial assistance. Fr. Sebastian has multiple roles as pastor of St. Joseph the Worker parish, sole priest bringing sacraments to 21 mountain villages and he is the director of Blessed Maria Ramiro School.
Blessed Maria Ramiro School serves the needs of 130 students who pay a meager $4.25 a month to attend, which is a hardship for them. As you can imagine, the expense of running this school is very difficult since Father is only able to collect $550 a month.
As you can see from the picture, since there is no money for a rectory or home for Fr. Sebastian, he sleeps in the sacristy of St. Joseph the Worker parish.
Our ultimate purpose is to help Fr. Sebastian eventually get his own rectory and pay for all his parish and possibly school expenses, so that he can focus on serving the great number of Catholics in his poor regions.
Your Chance to Make a Change
For every $15 or more donation you make to Mission Coffee Ministry, you will receive a free gift bag of Nicaraguan coffee. The Shepherd’s Cafe buys the coffee from coffee farmers who are Fr. Sebastian’s Delegates. One-third of the proceeds goes to Fr. Sebastian, two-thirds goes to the farmers, who are also Catholic Delegates (minus all expenses of Mission Coffee Ministry). This way, the entire Catholic community gets enriched by the purchase of this coffee.
Keeping Faith Alive
Each of the 21 mountain villages has a Delegate who serves as Fr. Sebastian’s representative while he is away. Fr. Sebastian celebrates Mass and the other Sacraments either once a month or once a year depending on the remoteness of the village. That is why the Delegate position is so crucial to keeping the faith alive within the communities.
Delegates are devout practicing Catholics who go through formation training and catechesis and are in constant communication with Father. They evangelize, visit the sick, lead bible studies, teach catechesis, leads faith formation - everything but the Sacramental priestly duties. These Delegates and/or their families are coffee farmers by trade.
Thank you in advance in helping us help Fr. Sebastian and the farmers of the mountain villages. Together we are helping Fr. Sebastian and his Delegates as One Body of Christ.
Please see photos from the recent trip to Nicaragua in March 2011.
For more info: Honduras