From Fr. Greg Schaffer, from my native place but serving in Venezuela, in my e-mail:
I am not sure if you remember me from St. Paul Seminary…we were there together for one I believe. I have enjoyed reading your blog over the years. To get to the point for the last 20 years I have been serving at the Archdiocesan mission of the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis in the Diocese of Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela. My current responsibility is serving as the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Ciudad Guayana until our Holy Father names our new bishop. The current political and economic situation in Venezuela is very difficult. The current Socialist government is very anti-Catholic. In the midst of many struggles, where many people including many priests and religious of the diocese are malnourished, we are trying to complete construction on our Cathedral. We are the only diocese in Venezuela without a Cathedral. Our Cathedral will be the FIRST Cathedral to be dedicated to St. John Paul II – it is located on the site of where he celebrated Mass January 29, 1985. I have contacted the Papal Foundation in the US and they directed me to contact the nuncio here in Venezuela which I will do to request funding from them.
With the help of a friend, I am making contact with the organization Kristan Noch in Poland (they are based in Germany) to ask for financial help with the construction. Do you know of any other Catholic Foundations that I might try contacting? I estimate it will take $300,000.00 to finish construction of the lower chapel which is the goal for this year. Once the lower chapel is completed we can start having daily Mass celebrated at the site which will be a huge blessing for the people and the project! There is a facebook page dedicated to the construction of the Cathedral – https://www.facebook.com/fundacioncatedral.deciudadguayana. Wikipedia also gives a brief history and description of the cathedral at https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catedral_de_San_Juan_Pablo_II_(Ciudad_Guayana).
Thank you for reading all of this. Thank you for your blog and for the great ministry that you are doing! May the Lord bless you and fill you with His Peace and many graces during this Holy Week and throughout this Holy Easter Season! Thank you for your prayers and for any suggestions you may have for me! Gratefully, Fr Gregory Schaffer