On Saturday, April 3rd, more than 100 family members, national volunteers, Habitat staff and special guests came together to celebrate the end of our Lent Build and much more importantly, the progress we had made after seven weeks of construction and partnership-building. We were honored to have Monseñor Ricardo Urioste—founder and president of the Monseñor Romero Foundation—join us and reflect on the legacy of Monseñor Romero. He reminded us of one of the many ways that Monseñor Romero demonstrated his solidarity with the poor and advocated for decent housing for all. As Archbishop of San Salvador, he was offered a large house in one of the exclusive neighborhoods in the capital city. Aware that hundreds of thousands of families in his own country and around the world lack a decent roof over their heads, he could not accept this gift. He decided instead to live in a small room behind the chapel of a hospital that serves cancer patients—a site where many of our Lent Build volunteers visited.
To thank the Monseñor Romero Foundation and Hermanas Carmelitas Misioneras de Santa Teresa de Jesús (the founders of the aforementioned hospital) for their ongoing work in honoring Monseñor Romero and his legacy, Habitat El Salvador staff presented representatives of both organizations with a special diploma on Saturday. One of the Monseñor Romero Foundation representatives later expressed, “I am positive that Monseñor Romero—from his place of privilege—will be more than happy for the generous work you are developing to help his beloved, long-suffering Salvadoran people.”
Indeed, one of the reasons we were gathered on Saturday was to dedicate one of the first homes built in the community. Flanked by the Rodríguez and Aguilar families, Monseñor Urioste and Eduardo Canizalez (a member of the Ahuachapán City Council) cut the ribbon and invited all of the guests inside the new house. In a prayer of appreciation and blessing, Pastor Andrés Rodríguez thanked God for preparing the conditions and providing the correct people to bless this community.
Although the Lent Build officially ended on April 3rd, there is still much work left to do. As was planned, thirty families have applied and have been selected to build their houses! Seven houses have been completed, fourteen others are still in progress, and we will start digging the foundations for the remaining nine soon. In this way, we are fulfilling our goal of building 30 houses in honor of Monseñor Romero during the 30th anniversary of his martyrdom.
–Habitat El Salvador Team