December 2016 Newsletter Executive Director and News from El Salvador
From the Peace Mission’s
By Mary K. Stevenson
Faith and Work
It is the job of Padre Octavio Cruz, Director of the Vicariate for Human DevelopmentCARITAS for the Archdiocese of San Salvador, along with our Director, Marta Calderon, to determine how COAR can best work with the government child care laws (LEPINA, administered by ISNA) while keeping COAR within the mission of the Church. P. Octavio told us that COAR is the best-run residential home in the country, and a model for the others. He has the experience and data(!) that our work makes a difference among vulnerable children and improves society. But he also has faith. Your gifts, large and small, show your faith in the work that COAR does. That is our gift for the New Year.
Padre Octavio Cruz began working for social justice in the Archdiocese with Bl. Romero in 1977. He has walked with his parishioners through unspeakable violence and suffering. When we asked him about the current violence in El Salvador, and whether there was any hope, he smiled. He told us that it would take time and effort, but that yes, the culture could change. He described projects and programs that parishes within the Archdiocese had implemented in the past several years. Most of these show measurable results, reducing gang membership and vulnerability among youth. The key is developing skills and opportunities for their youth and working towards good government.