Catholic News Service photo
A family poses inside their new home in Guatemala March 20 with Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., and David Adams, vice president of Cross Catholic Outreach ministry. The completion of 17 houses and a chapel in the Cuilapa area of the Diocese o f Santa Rosa de Lima, Guatemala, illustrates the working relationship Cross Catholic Outreach has with the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, said Jim Cavnar, president of the Florida-based ministry organization.
Catholic News Service photo
A family poses inside their new home in Guatemala March 20 with Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., and David Adams, vice president of Cross Catholic Outreach ministry. The completion of 17 houses and a chapel in the Cuilapa area of the Diocese o f Santa Rosa de Lima, Guatemala, illustrates the working relationship Cross Catholic Outreach has with the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, said Jim Cavnar, president of the Florida-based ministry organization.
BOCA RATON, Fla. — The completion of 17 houses and a chapel in Guatemala represents a new stage in the decades-long relationship between Cross Catholic Outreach and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, according to the head of the Florida-based ministry group.

The new homes and the chapel, dedicated to St. Rose of Lima, took place in an area of the Diocese of Cuilapa, head by Bishop Bernabe Sagastume Lemus.

"We have collaborated with Cor Unum on many smaller projects, but this effort represents a new level of involvement, both in terms of its size and in its approach," Jim Cavnar, president of Cross Catholic Outreach, said in a statement.

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum promotes and coordinates Catholic charitable activity. Cross Catholic Outreach is a relief and development ministry that provides food, water and shelter and a variety of services to those living in extreme poverty around the world.

"We believe very strongly in the importance of integral development, as Pope Francis does, and we feel this project exemplifies the strengths of that approach," Cavnar added about the Guatemala initiative. "This housing project is bringing both material and spiritual transformation to this area and its people."

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the council's president, attended the March 31 inauguration ceremony, along with several delegates from Cross Catholic Outreach, including Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., who represented the board of directors, and David Adams, the organization's vice president for missions.

The houses were built for families left destitute and homeless following natural disasters that struck Guatemala in 2011.

"This initiative is fruit of the Holy Father's paternal care and his request on behalf of those who suffer," Cardinal Sarah said at the ceremony. "With great pleasure I bring you the blessing of our beloved Pope Francis, whom you very well know reserves a special place in his heart for the poor."

The cardinal recognized Cross Catholic Outreach's role in the project and thanked Bishop Slattery and others from the organization who were in attendance, as well as the ministry's benefactors.

"These brothers and sisters have a roof once again where they can find shelter," he said. "Above all -- and it is most important -- thank you for your generosity. The Lord works through you to demonstrate his compassion and closeness to those who experience need."