March 2016 Newsletter Executive Director

From the Peace Mission’s
Executive Director

By Mary K. Stevenson

Many of COAR’s supporters are not Catholic. But they appreciate the spirit and integrity with which we approach our Catholic mission. Being Catholic also gives us centuries of experience and wisdom to draw upon. St. Francis de Sales was bishop of Geneva from 1602-1622, while the Reformation raged in Switzerland and France. It was a time of war, poverty, and tremendous fundamental disagreements. Yet, the strength of St. Francis’ education, faith, and sincere desire to help people lead to his renown as a gentleman, never resorting to crudeness or force. That is the feeling any visitor has at COAR. The gentleness of our children and the staff are evident. They gain that from their own inner resources, of course. But they also gain that from your gifts. COAR is strong. It has walls and security. It has history and honor and traditions. It has the support of thousands of people from around the world who wish for nothing more than the opportunity for the children to thrive. That strength leads to gentleness. That gentleness will go out into Salvadoran society, in the person of Juan Carlos and his many classmates, and eventually, result in real strength. Thank you.

News from El Salvador

El Salvador’s latest cross Zika virus

El Salvador remains in the news because of gang violence, emigration, and now, the Zika virus. It is widespread with hundreds of cases reported. Whether or not the birth defect of microcephaly will follow, as it seemed to in Brazil, is not yet known. The government has urged women to avoid pregnancy until the risk is clearer. This latest challenge coincides with Lent, the 40 days before Easter of fasting and atonement. Every Friday in Lent El Salvador shuts down as towns, large and small, recreate the Via Cruz, the Way of the Cross, reenacting Jesus’ last day as he carried his cross to his crucifixion. It is a fitting metaphor for El Salvador’s troubles. But as people of faith, they also embrace the Resurrection, the hope and faith that that things will get better.