The Catholic church and city of Cuenca are looking to Cuencanos living in the U.S. and Canada to provide financial help to repair the cathedral roof.
An October study by the University of Cuenca engineering department estimated that $800,000 is needed to repair the cathedral roof and domes and to repair damage from leaks. The study said some of the original work on the roof was never completed.
Ecuadorian migrants provide substantial donations to the church for “traveling mercies,” provided by clergy, for trips to and from North America. The migrants provide the majority of funding for Cuenca’s Christmas Eve Pase de Niño parade.
The private-public fund raising campaign is headed by Jaime Moreno who is developing an advertising campaign to reach Ecuadorians living overseas, primarily in North America. “We are studying ways to reach the largest number of Ecuadorians,” he said. “If we can find them, we believe they will help us.”
The campaign, titled “Dollars for Cuenca,” kicks off next month. Luis Gerardo Cabrera, Archbishop of Cuenca, said organizers of the plan wanted to avoid any conflict with local elections next week. In addition to seeking support in the U.S. and Canada, Cabrera said that collection jars would be placed in the cathedral for collections from the local population as well as tourists.
Morena said the overseas campaign will emphasize the importance of the cathedral, both regligiously and culturally. “It is the primary icon of Cuenca and a point of pride for the city. We need to maintain it in good condition.”
Photo captions: Cuenca’s cathedral