Online Newsletter of Crispaz | Christians for Peace in El Salvador | September 2018
How Mons. Romero Continues to Challenge Me
By Jon Sobrino, S.J.
I have written many times about Mons. Romero. I remember the first thing I wrote after his assassination was that “Mons. Romero believes in God”. Throughout these 38 years I have insisted that Mons. Romero lived both from the people and with the people. To separate God and the people in Mons. Romero, to me, is impossible.
In remembering Romero, people usually think of his last homily on the eve of his assassination: “In the name of God and of his suffering people, whose cries reach the heavens more tumultuously each day, I beg you, I beseech you, I order you, in the name of God, stop the repression”. God and the People, thus go hand in hand. But let us analyze this separately for a moment.
1. A few days before, in his February 10 homily, Mons. Romero spoke explicitly and solemnly of God. “No one really knows oneself as long as one has not encountered God… Oh may it be, beloved brothers and sisters, that the fruit of today’s sermon would enable each one of us to truly encounter God and to live the joy of God’s majesty and of our own smallness!”
2. Mons. Romero lived with and for the people. I remember the clear response of a campesino when asked: “Who was Mons. Romero fr you?” Without hesitation, the campesino answered: “Mons. Romero spoke the truth, he stood up for us, and that’s why they killed him”.
The End of TPS
On Monday January 8, of this current year the decision to end the Temporary Permit Status or TPS which, since 2001, protected over 200,000 Salvadorans from deportation, was made official by the US government. Although anticipated and predicted y experts in migration and by US government officials, this was news that El Salvador was not eager to receive under any circumstances. Despite the fact that it was inevitable, many refused to accept it. The official news release of the end of the TPS for Salvadorans had created concern in El Salvador, among Salvadorans residing in the US, as well as in immigrant advocate groups.
Neither the efforts of the Salvadoran government, nor the opinion of the US ambassador to El Salvador, nor pressure from the many construction companies hiring thousands of Salvadorans protected by the TPS have managed to change Donald Trump’s decision.
The intense lobbying from the Salvadoran government, led by Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez, did not manage to extend the protection status; but it may have helped attain a delay of 18 months in order for Salvadorans to seek another migration status or, in a worst case scenario, to depart by the expiration date. This is the longest delay granted by the laws of the United States, a delay was not granted to Nicaraguans when they were notified of the termination of the TPS that protected them. Now all Salvadorans can hope for is to find a legal loophole that would allow them to process a permanent residence or wait for Congress to pass a law that would allow them to obtain legal residency; otherwise they would have to return to El Salvador by September 9, 2019.
Community Profile: Guarjila
Talking with a long-time community member is always the best way to get to know a place. On this opportunity, CRISPAZ sat down with Maria Morena Palma, a long-time community member of Guarjila who gives us a glimpse into her community, Guarjila.
My name is Maria Morena Palma and my community, Guarjila, nowadays, is a wonderful one. The people who come to visit feel very much welcome.
The history of Guarjila though wasn’t always like this. it was extremely difficult; our community was completely destroyed d ue to El Salvador’s twelve-year civil war,
In 1980 most of the families that used to live in Guarjila during the war had to flee to Mesa Grande, Honduras, and seek refuge from constant attacks and civil rights violations from the government’s armed forces.
In 1986 we felt the need to return to our country and decided to go back to Guarjila. We returned only to find what used to be a small, quiet village, was now in ruins and overgrown with vegetation. The village had completely been wiped out due to the military coming in and torching the homes and airplanes bombing the village.
Over the last 30 years, about 150 families have returned to resettle Guarjila and most of the original families still remain. Some of the small children that returned with their families as small children in the mid 80’s, are now adults and have families of their own. This is good because our community continues to grow as a result of this.
Jon Sobrino, J.S. to Receive 2018 CRISPAZ Peace Award
This year the Award Ceremony will be held in El Salvador among the people Fr. Sobrino has served since 1958. The Award Ceremoy will be held at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) on December 4, 2018 from 6 to 8pm CST.
The ceremony had been previously scheduled for October 24, but Fr. Sobrino was called by his Provincial to attend Mons. Romero’s Canonization in Rome and would not be back in time for the Ceremony. Although we had to change our plans, we could not be happier that Fr. Sobrino will be attending this important event..
A Jesuit priest and theologian, Jon Sobrino is one of the best-known proponents of liberation theology. He has published extensively on Christ, the church, and spirituality. His writings include: The Principle of Mercy: Taking the Crucified People from the Cross (Orbis, 1994), No Salvation Outside the Poor, and Prophetic-Utopian Essays (Orbis, 2008)
Sobrino was born into a Basque family in Barcelona, Spain in 1938. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1956 and later went to El Salvador to do some of his seminary training. Alongside his priestly formation, he earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Jesuit St. Louis University (USA) and doctorate in Theology in Frankfurt, Germany.
For decades, Fr. Sobrino has been an outspoken proponent of peace and justice. From the period of the civil war, to enduring devastating hurricanes and earthquakes, to addressing current issues such as gang violence, the drug trade, and immigration, Jon Sobrino has been the leading theological voice in El Salvador. “As a theologian, his concern was less to think systematically about the Gospel that to ask how we should respond to it. In that sense, he was as much a spiritual writer as a theologian (Andrew Hamilton 2007).
For his tireless advocacy, profound theological depth, and life-long commitment to the marginalized people of El Salvador, CRISPAZ is honored to bestow on him its 2018 Peace Award.
Catelin Minneci reflects on her home stay in Guarjila. Catelin was among 12 of her classmates from
Mt. Notre Dame High School visited El Salvador in June through the CRISPAZ Encounter.
CRISPAZ would like to express our deepest gratitude to the delegations that have visited El Salvador through the CRISPAZ Encounter Program thus far in 2018.
Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA
John Carroll University, Cleveland, OH
University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
Fordham University, The Bronx, NY
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Harrison, OH
2nd Presbyterian Church, Louisville, KY
Luther College High School, Regina, SK, Canada
Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH
Boston College STM, Boston, MA
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Brebeuf Jesuit High School, Indianapolis, IN
University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI
St. Michael & Ss. Peter and Paul Churches, Newport - Ft. Loaramie, OH
The University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
Archbishop Moeller High School, Cincinnati, OH
Mount Notre Dame High School, Cincinnati, OH
Carroll High School, Dayton, OH
St. Ignatius College Prep, San Francisco, CA
Principals Association of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools. Victoria, Australia.
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