Community People

North End Priest Director of Orphanage in Guatemala

Former North End resident Fr. Michael Della Penna OFM is currently 30 minutes east of Guatemala where he is the Director of the Valley of the Angels Orphanage, a home and haven for 211 children.

Set against a backdrop of lush forest and rolling hills, the orphanage is in an area Fr. Michael refers to as a “Red Zone” with poverty and crime, where police won’t go because of all the gang activity.

Homes surrounding the orphanage are basically shacks comprised of makeshift roofs and miscellaneous materials, according to the Franciscan priest who took over the directorship in 2008.

Since 1991, after years of teaching and directing retreats, Fr. Michael claimed he felt a calling to go to Central America to fight poverty and finally he was sent overseas to carry on the work of the orphanage.

Assisting him in his work are two other Franciscan Friars, three Franciscan sisters and a steady flow of volunteers from the United States and Canada, many of them from Catholic high schools and universities.

Besides the religious teachings, arts, music and exercises also figure into the daily routine at the orphanage.

“It’s a beautiful place designed to remind children on their own inherent goodness and value,” Fr. Michael noted. “The children take frequent nature walks, soaking in the splendor around them.”

Fr. Michael grew up in a close knit and religious community where he received and experienced the makings of families and a true neighborhood experience, something that can’t be taught. He was also extremely involved with civic and recreational activities for many years before he took his vows.

Those who know Fr. Michael are proud of his mission to help take care of the poor and they commend him for his extremely difficult duties and responsibilities which he handles with sincere dedication.

9 Replies to “North End Priest Director of Orphanage in Guatemala

  1. Dear Fr. Michael, how wonderful to see this post, I will try and share it on my timeline in the hopes that it will in turn help you!

    Keep smiling, you are truly a gift to these children and to the world.

    Olivia Morris

  2. So proud of our friend Michael carrying on the work of love and dedication of Fr. Rocco! God Bless you!

  3. GOD BLESS Fr Michaels journey of LOVE!! Siempre con una actitud de servicio en el orfanato pero también para muchos otros en necesidad. Thank you so much being with our good friends Garcia Salas and many others. Always thankful the Yurrita Tabush family

  4. Old friend and next door neighbor,,wonderful kid growing up no surprise to see him want to help others and he truly does enjoy what he’s doing,,I had the privilege of talking to him recently,,thanks to the power of social media! Best of luck and God bless you my friend,,Jackie and Al would be so proud!!

  5. Fr. Mike, you are a Very special person. So proud of you and the work you do. Love you my friend.

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