Watercolor original by: Marie Spaeder Haas

March 2021 – Executive Director’s Reflections & News from El Salvador

Romero, Romero, Romero

As we thought ahead to this spring, we wondered what to do instead of our Annual Benefit (dear future reader: we are still in the midst of a pandemic.) St. Romero Day, celebrated on the anniversary of his martyrdom, March 24th, is always celebrated at COAR. Why not celebrate here? All we need is a church and livestreaming capabilities, check (the pandemic again.)
As we looked through his great quotes, homilies, and writings, the profundity of St. Romero’s legacy hit us. He lived in horribly divided times amidst unspeakable violence. Yet, he preached peace constantly. He is always a model for the children, of course. But this year he is a model for all of us. His words on page 3 were spoken in reference to the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th, 43 years ago. Your gifts to COAR build peace, they are peace. As the Saint says: “Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity.” Thank you.

News from El Salvador

The new US administration of President Biden has revived programs of aid to stabilize El Salvador (among the other countries of northern Central America.) The goal is to make emigration a less attractive option for those suffering from poverty and violence. However, while the gang violence has not changed much in two decades, an escalation in politically motivated violence is new. The current political atmosphere in El Salvador is moving toward repression. The President, Nayib Bukele, marched the military into their “Capitol” building last spring to demand increased funds for security and, more recently, supporters of an opposition party were murdered.

He is promoting politically divisive discourse. Many who lived through the war despair of these trends. We hope that renewed, targeted aid will help to rebuild El Salvador’s economy from the devastation of the pandemic. We hope that alleviating poverty will lead to an improved political atmosphere. We hope that the example and words of St. Romero may, once again, guide his people towards peace.