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The current community of Totolya was part of the village Tzalamabaj since the time of President Justo Rufino Barrios. There was a great struggle on the part of our great-great grandparents to obtain the blessed land which was the village of Tzalamabaj and the hamlet Totolya.  Many of the original families were originally from Solola. Some came from the villages of Pujojil and San Jose Chacaya.  


When the Catholic Church began to teach the Gospel to our people they used pictures of figures and they held events like religious conferences, weekly catechesis and education classes. They also prepared the first couples for marriage. 


These first couples were instructed by Don Anacleto Pic Sajquiy, first catechist of the village of Tzalamabaj and Totolya, always with the support of Father John Goggin. 


In the year 1998 the Catholic Church was organized in the hamlet of Totolya, with the help of Father John Goggin. For the first house of prayer  we used the house of brother Agustin Tzurec. later we used the house of Jorge Perez Panjoj. A formal request was made to Father John Goggin for economic help to buy land to house a formal Catholic church. Father John helped us economically and we were able to buy the land for the construction of a church. After that we began to look for more support and we were able to obtain help from Don Rodolfo Martinez who gave us pine trees for the construction. The construction of the Catholic church was completed for the community thanks to Father John Goggin.



We felt very thankful to Father John and with his help we continued to spread the Gospel and preparing people for the formation of marriages, first communion, confirmation, and for confessions. 



 I [Jose Gonzales Castro] want to recall the sad history of the year 2002. It was 9:00 PM on a night in September when a strong rain began and a strong rumbling was heard. A short while later the earth moved like an earthquake and then we heard a loud noise. All of us from Totolya went out together in search of our brothers and sisters buried beneath lots of rubble. Amongst the mud we heard cries of pain in the darkness. We were able to rescue several people, but 32 lives were lost from the community of El Porvenir. We called Monsignor Greg right away because he had bought the finca (plantation) El Porvenir in 2000 and he turned it into a community. Because of this we called him and he sent cars from the parish to carry the wounded to the hospitals.  He also called the fire departments of several areas and much humanitarian help was obtained for our brothers and sisters. Monsignor Gregory Schaffer was worried about the health of the patients and he named me, Jose Gonzales Castro, in charge of looking over the patients in the different hospitals in the country.

Fr. Greg raised the money to buy the finca La Providencia and then founded the model communities of Totolya, Porvenir and Tierra Santa in the year 2005. Because of Fr. Greg's work, we, in Totolya chose our Patron Saint as San Pedro Nolasco who is the saint of Monsignor Gregorio Schaffer. Thus we will not forget the great work he did for us and his history will remain alive in our hearts from the parents to children. 


  • Construction: Since 2015, the Mission has built 34 fuel-efficient stoves in Totolya.

  • Healthcare: In 2019, Totolya was served by 4 visiting medical groups who conducted a total of 84 consults. There were 33 children enrolled in the child nutrition program with 4 families receiving the supplement.

Community Leadership: 

Each community in the municipality of San Lucas Toliman has elected leadership specific to that community.  These groups of elected leaders are usually referred to as a COCODE.  People from the community are elected and usually serve 1-2 years.  The COCODE usually has about a dozen members.

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