Over the past seven weeks, many of the international volunteer teams have spent the first weekend of their trip in San Salvador participating in what we are calling the “Monseñor Romero Tour.” With the goal of sharing information about the country, the civil war and Monseñor Romero, Habitat staff members have led the teams to visit important sites, including the Monseñor Romero Center at the UCA, the cathedral in downtown San Salvador as well as the chapel where Monseñor Romero was assassinated. The next two posts provide insights into that tour and what it has meant to the volunteers.
Hope in San Salvador (March 27, 2010)
Today I came face to face with Archbishop Óscar Romero. I saw his humble home and learned about his struggles to help the poor and oppressed, his sacrifices in worldly comforts and the ultimate sacrifice—his life. We visited the chapel where he was serving communion when he was assassinated with one bullet from a sniper. I feel the passion of the Salvadorans as they prepare for the 30th anniversary of his Palm Sunday burial. Churches and streets hang with banners honoring him. Museums have exhibits remembering his works. Óscar Romero’s faith and dedication have given hope to the powerless. I am proud that the Getsemaní community is being rebuilt with Habitat El Salvador’s support in Archbishop Romero’s honor. Every human deserves respect and a chance to live a fulfilled and safe life.
–Kelly Backman (Myers Park Presbyterian Church Team)
Palm Sunday (March 28, 2010)
As the day draws to a close, I am trying to gather my thoughts to relate to all of you what my meaning is of this sensory overload. It has been a fantastic day that started in San Salvador with some strong coffee and a great breakfast. Our first stop was at the wall memorializing the Salvadorans who lost their lives or disappeared in the civil war from 1970-1992. It was particularly moving as we had been told a story the evening before about a woman who had disappeared. We located her name on the wall.
We then traveled to the cathedral in downtown San Salvador to attend mass. So did everybody else in San Salvador, not to mention everybody in El Salvador (at least it seemed that way!). There were “muchas personas” in attendance as not only was it Palm Sunday but the day also marked the 30th anniversary of the funeral of Monseñor Óscar Romero. We were touched by the greetings from those in attendance as they shared palm fronds with us on arrival and graciously shared the peace with us even though we were obviously out of place in their cathedral. We were clearly all one in God’s house.
–Clark & Tom aka Largo & Tomás (Myers Park Presbyterian Church Team)