“It is ironic that while one of the Program’s emphases is to evangelize the people of underdeveloped countries, it is they who evangelize us. Perhaps the most powerful and most significant lesson gained from working with church people of another culture is that they are truly living Gospel. Once you decide to join and walk with them in their suffering, you become enriched by their faith experience.” – Theresa Patterson, Executive Director
The program is currently recognized by the Diocese of Nashville in the “Official Catholic Directory”, the United States Catholic Conference and the Office of the Secretariat of Latin America. The Program is recognized and commended by the Bishops of Haiti with their complete support and approval.
In its many years of existence, the Program has succeeded in becoming not only the largest Catholic-to-Catholic network but also the largest citizen-to-citizen network linking countries of the Caribbean and Latin America with North America.
Over the course of the years a mutual respect, sharing, and understanding has been discovered and developed. Through seeing and touching poverty, North American parishes have experienced not only the physical needs, but also the humility, dignity, joy, patience and love of the people themselves and a new awareness of the breadth of the Catholic Church and its mission throughout the world.
Literally thousands of priests, church leaders, and lay people have been involved with the Program. Despite potential differences of language, race, ethnicity, gender, culture and nation, twinning parishes have discovered that we are one human family.
Creating these one-on-one, person-to-person, hands-on relationships based on faith and solidarity is perhaps the most rewarding and most unique contribution the Program has made.
This authentic twinning is mutually enriching. It is a collaboration–a partnership. Participants have often expressed the effect that their own involvement in this mission has had on them. It is not paternalistic; instead, it is about empowerment, and it is the sharing of resources and people in ways which benefit everybody.