San Antonio PolopĆ³


                               Most of the inhabitants of San Antonio Palopo are Catholic and practice Catholicism.                                                         v      The Catholic church in San Antonio Palopo was built in the mid 1500s and is one of the oldest churches in                    m        Guatemala. Like most towns in Central America the Catholic church is located at the town's central.

Catholic Church San Antonio Palopo

 Catholic Church in San Antonio Palopo.

Mayan Cross San Antonio Palopo

Mayan cross, observe all ends are equal and represent the four elements.

 Over the last ten years many evangelical churches have arrived and are growing in staggering numbers.

Many missionaries and humanitarian groups have done much good for the locals. They bring donations of books, medicine, materials for cooking, building and educating the locals on subjects such as crop rotation,  cleaning up the town and preserving nature. Some groups come and offer free clinical work these include dentist and eye doctors.

Many north American and European church groups who come to San Antonio Palopo help by providing funds for building houses and volunteers promoting cross cultural understanding. These church groups also help in providing  spiritual guidance and counseling. 

Many of the women prefer the teachings of the evangelical churches because they discourage drinking alcohol.  Alcoholism has become very problematic in San Antonio Palopo. In recent years more young men and girls have started drinking. This causes problems in relationships, unwanted pregnancies and domestic violence. The price of Alcohol in Guatemala is very expensive and the wages earned are very low. Oftentimes  the alcoholics spend much of their money sustaining their habit. This leaves little left to support themselves or their families.

Evangelical churches are relatively new to San Antonio Palopo. The churches often play very loud music late at night, usually not stopping until 1:00 AM. This upsets many of the villagers because they cannot sleep with such loud noise. The churches are equipped with very large sound systems and oftentimes people are screaming on the microphone and playing music as loud as they can make it. In a town like San Antonio located on the mountain next to the lake, this is very loud and echos through the town. Many of the new believers in San Antonio Palopo and in rural towns across Central America have taken there new religious beliefs to extremes. 

Locals frequently complain about the types of music the churches play and disapprove of the new and different ways of worship. They are becoming divided over these new beliefs and customs. It is common for families to oppose a wedding between Catholic and Evangelical believers.

(Many Catholics are believed to have identified themselves as evangelicos to escape torture or death.) (

The locals in San Antonio call evangelical churches cultos which means cults in English. They do not however use this term in a derogatory manner.

 Shortly before Christmas, San Antonio Palopo has a very unique celebration, they will carry a statue of Maximon ( A Mayan Deity ) around town with a noose around his neck, they locals will then hang Maximon by his neck in front of Catholic church, they douse him in gas and set him on fire. This is the local way of showing respect to the new Christian god. 

Setting people on fire has been a way of ridding the town of evil doers for many centuries. As soon as the Spaniards settled in Guatemala they brought with them the Christian religion. The Christian religion frowned on bloodshed. So instead they burned evil doers alive to kill them. This way they did not shed blood and therefor committed no sin. 

Most of the inhabitants still pray to both the Christian and Mayan gods and deities such as Maximon or ancestors. They often ask for healing, wealth, help with love and sexual fertility. 

The locals say they pray to both just in case one god does not grant their wishes the other might. This happens with  both evangelical and Catholic believers. ( Not all, but the majority) This is kept secret for fear of discrimination from others.

While the many of the locals pray to both god and deities they publicly denounce Maximon shortly before Christmas by dragging him around the village then hang him with a noose and set him on fire.

The Mayan beliefs vary in every different village, for more information regarding Mayan beliefs visit

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