St. John the Beloved youth missionaries getting ready to lay down a cement floor.

Giving to Our Missionary Partnership

Learn more about how you can contribute towards the Catholic Diocese of Arlington's Missionary Partnership by clicking on one of the questions below in the FAQ section.

Diocese of Arlington Missionary Partnership FAQs

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Where are Bánica and Pedro Santana?

Bánica is a major town in the region of Elias Piña in the central western part of the Dominican Republic . Pedro Santana is a smaller town about two miles from Bánica. Bánica and Pedro Santana are very close to the Eastern border of Haiti . The Dominican Republic is 95% Catholic, but has very few priests to meet the spiritual needs of her people.

The Bánica parish, San Franicisco de Asís, was founded in the early sixteenth century. On the other hand, the Pedro Santana parish, San José , is quite young, having been founded in the middle of the twentieth century. Both parishes are at the center of the life and history of these two frontier towns.

What is Relationship of the Diocese of Arlington to the Missions in Pedro Santana and Bánica?

During his pontificate, Pope John XXIII encouraged dioceses with sufficient numbers of priests to share them with dioceses that had limited numbers of priests?. Bishop Keating, second bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, listened to the Pope's request and established the Arlington Dominican Mission in 1991. Bishop Keating was also considering the wellbeing of Arlington by providing the diocese with a mission experience. Thus, a more impoverished part of the world could receive much needed material goods, the faithful of Virginia could experience a sister church in a developing country, and the priests who would return from this mission land could better serve the growing number of Spanish-speaking Catholics in Northern Virginia. Since 1991, the Arlington Dominican Mission has served 70 communities in the Dominican Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana.

Why does the Arlington Dominican Mission need our help?

In the Dominican Republic the poorer half of the population receives less than one fifth of the Gross National Product. Thirty percent of the population exists under the poverty line. Here are just a couple of problems that the population of the Dominican villages faces:

  • Extreme poverty
  • Illiteracy (in some communities illiteracy among adults is 100%)
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Lack of sanitation systems
  • Rampant disease (typhoid, water-born parasites, cholera and malaria)

What has the Diocese of Arlington done to help?

First and foremost the Diocese of Arlington has sought to provide for the spiritual needs of Bánica and Pedro Santana and the surrounding area. The spiritual mission of the Diocese of Arlington has also blossomed into service projects which meet the daily and educational needs of the parishioners. Some of these projects include:

  • The establishment of a K-8 parochial school
  • Adoration chapel built
  • St. Vincent de Paul society created
  • Chapels, pews and sanctuaries constructed
  • Faith-based reading program
  • Home building and restoration projects
  • Scholarships to help students attend universities and summer school
  • Scholarship for job training
  • Alternative Spring Breaks for students from nearby VA colleges such as Marymount University , Christendom College , and George Mason University

The Diocese of Arlington also gives funds to FUNDASEP (Foundation for the Development of Azua, San Juan, and Elias Piña) which helps bring improved sanitation and water, pharmacies and infrastructure to many parishioners in the area. FUNDASEP runs Radio Corazon, a station used by bishops to broadcast programs to the Dominican Republic.

What are the current needs of the missions?

The already existing programs continue to need financial support. However, here are a few current projects:

  • new vehicle
  • new roof for the Church
  • copy machine
  • funding for employee salaries and service expansion
  • creation of a Catholic high school

How can I help the Arlington Dominican Mission ?

Due to the extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic , the Arlington Dominican Mission is always in need of funds to help with her daily apostolate. Any donation you wish to make would be greatly appreciated. Personal donations can be sent to:

Arlington Dominican Mission
Diocese of Arlington
200 North Glebe Road
Arlington , VA 22203

The mission at Bánica is also funded by the Bishop's Lenten Appeal; your continued generosity is appreciated.

The mission does accept lay volunteers who must first be interviewed and screened by the Diocese of Arlington. The mission also requires that volunteers take a short trip out to Bánica and Pedro Santana to experience the rigors of the lifestyle and be interviewed by the pastor.

Finally, the Missions of Bánica and Pedro Santana need not only financial support, but also spiritual support. The Diocese asks that you remember to pray for our Church family in the Dominican Republic .

How can I learn more about Banica and Pedro Santana?

You can read more about the mission at Bánica by visiting Father O'Hare's blog. Fathers O'Hare and Murphy, the current pastors in Bánica and Pedro Santana respectively, write several times a week about the daily struggles and triumphs of the mission.