“We are workers, not master builders.”
(“Somos albañiles, no jefes de obra.”)
Thirty years ago, Monseñor Romero was assassinated while defending the rights of the poor and the marginalized. His legacy invites us to continue to help those who are less fortunate because thousands of families still lack basic needs like housing, food, potable water, electricity, education and employment.
Habitat for Humanity El Salvador is therefore honoring Monseñor Romero with a special blitz build—Lent Build: 30 Houses with Romero. As the name suggests, the goal is to build 30 houses with the support of 30 volunteer teams during Lent and Easter week, always with the aim of giving a hand up to families in need of a decent house.
Monseñor Romero taught us that “Somos albañiles, no jefes de obra,” but what exactly do albañiles do? They reflect on what materials they have available and then build, based on the instructions of the master builder. And when they finish the job, they celebrate what they have achieved. During this time of preparation for the commemoration of the Passion of Christ, we will all be albañiles: reflecting on, building and celebrating decent housing together.
We will reflect on…
- The life and death of Monseñor Romero.
- Holistic initiatives designed to break the cycle of poverty.
- How to unite and act in solidarity.
We will build…
- The Kingdom of God on earth, by collaborating with a low-income community with big dreams.
- Decent houses with low-income families.
- Relationships with both national and international churches and other organizations in order to continue promoting decent housing for all.
We will celebrate…
- The legacy of Monseñor Romero.
- The launch of the Strengthening the Getsemaní Community Project.
It is an honor for Habitat El Salvador to build a house for each of the 30 years since Monseñor Romero’s death.
We hope to host 30 volunteer teams, working together in honor of Monseñor Romero. We welcome volunteers from all over the world–from churches, academic institutions, Habitat for Humanity affiliates and other organizations.
Volunteers will work alongside professional masons and the partner family members in the construction of simple, seismic-resistant, concrete-block houses. Tasks may include digging the foundation, mixing mortar, sifting sand, moving materials and painting.
Families will pay back their no-profit loan to Habitat El Salvador, thus allowing us to continue to build houses with even more families in need. However, given the level of poverty of the partner families in Getsemaní, a portion of the cost of construction will be subsidized so that their monthly payments are affordable.
As previously mentioned, Getsemaní will be hosting the 30-house blitz build. The symbolism could not be more powerful, as Getsemaní — or Gethsemane — is the name of the garden in Jerusalem where Jesus and his disciples prayed before Jesus’ crucifixion.
The event will last seven weeks — the six weeks of Lent and also Easter week — from February 17th until April 3rd.
|Work Week 1||February 15th-19th|
|Work Week 2||February 22nd – 26th|
|Work Week 3||March 1st – 5th|
|Work Week 4||March 8th – 12th|
|Work Week 5||March 15th – 19th|
|Work Week 6||March 22nd – 26th|
|Work Week 7||March 29th – April 2nd|
You can participate in a number of ways by:
- Organizing a volunteer team to participate in a week of construction.
- Promoting the Lent Build at your local church or other group.
- Raising funds for the sponsorship of one house.
- Reflecting on the cause of decent housing and on Monseñor Romero’s legacy.
- Praying on behalf of the partner families.
Óscar Arnulfo Romero — known as Monseñor Romero — was a Salvadoran Catholic priest. As archbishop of San Salvador (1977-1980), he preached about social justice and publicly manifested his solidarity with the poor and with the victims of political violence in El Salvador. Precisely because of this message, Monseñor Romero was assassinated on March 24, 1980 while celebrating Mass. His assassination was one of the catalysts for the ensuing civil war in our country, which lasted until 1992 with the signing of the Peace Accords. Monseñor Romero continues to be synonymous with social justice in El Salvador and throughout Latin America and the world.