December 2023 – Executive Director’s Reflections & News from El Salvador

Executive Director’s Reflections

Dignifying lives & healing hearts; WE ARE ALL called to be builders of peace

I was moved to tears, proud and happy tears, when they rushed up to me with the new shirts emblazoned with their new motto: WE ARE ALL called to be builders of peace (on the front); Dignifying lives & healing hearts (on the back). They created it in committee, with input from all the kids and staff. But it was the kids who decided. “Dignifying lives & healing hearts” is also found on posters around the campus and on the cover of an annual report published about COAR for the Archdiocese of San Salvador. It will greet visitors to our chapel and donors dropping off corn and beans. Most important, it will greet the girls new to COAR. They will know that we, that YOU, hope to give them dignity and heal their hearts. What a great way to celebrate Christmas and a Happy New Year.

News from El Salvador

We keep up with what the international media reports on El Salvador, of course. And we keep up with El Salvador’s own media. Just as important is to continually ask everyone how they feel about events and trends in El Salvador, from the crop harvest (verdict: mixed, too much rain in some places), to the cultural events (like international surfing competitions and the recent Miss Universe pageant (verdict: very fun to be on the international stage)). Most important is the “state of exception” that continues allowing the government to arrest and detain people with minimal due process. There is no denying that people feel safer to travel and conduct business. But everyone harbors anxiety about the families disrupted by a sudden arrest and the inevitable release of thousands of these prisoners. As the Archdiocese of San Salvador responds and ministers to those affected, COAR continues to be a valuable resource, thanks to you.