La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family) parish is the sister parish of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in Sabana Yegua, Ázua, Dominican Republic. The parish is divided in 22 small communities and one main town, Sabana Yegua. The population of the parish is of around 7,000 families (30,000 people.). The main economic activity of the population of the parish is agriculture. They plant tomatoes, plantains, bananas and papaya. There are more than 800 Haitian immigrants who live around Sabana Yegua in difficult conditions.
In 2017, Sacred Heart parish organized a Lenten offering program which raised enough money to build a new chapel for La Sagrada Familia parish. The previous small chapel was an unstable structure and had a leaky roof, but it was where the growing Catholic communities of Haitians and Dominicans gathered for worship. Chapels in the Dominican also become community centers, where the gospel is proclaimed also through health and educational programs.
The new chapel was built in Tábara Abajo, which is one of the largest of the 22 communities, with a population of 476 families (1665 people.) Last Fall, a group of parishioners went with Father Ricardo to visit with the community for a week. While there, they were present for the dedication of the new chapel.
Moving forward, we as a community hope to continue our relationship with La Sagrada Familia parish by helping them to build more chapels and visiting with groups who can return to the United States to tell the story of our sister parish in the Dominican Republic.