I’ve just returned from our El Salvador mission trip. Six students and one parent chaperone went with me to work for a week at the CIDECO community and school. We also had the chance to tour the country and learn a huge amount about another culture, another climate and most of all, to experience how the other 80% of the world’s population (including the majority of our Catholic brothers and sisters) live.
CIDECO is a wonderful project. Partially funded by the papal foundation, CIDECO is a gated community of modest houses which are provided to the poorest of the poor at a modest cost. There is a school, a marketplace and a health clinic, and they are raising funds for the church and high school. Despite all being hit with Montezuma’s Revenge, we managed to help teach English, plant some trees, do sports with the children, visit in the homes and minister the sacraments.
The trip was life changing for the students. On Sunday we went to Mass at a village church, and five minutes before Mass the parish priest asked me to preach on the Holy Trinity. I managed with a translator. The Church was full of simple people-young and old. They were full of love and open hearts. They gave us the warmest welcome imaginable, and I’m not referring to the weather.
After Mass one tenth grade girl said, “Father, these people have nothing, but they are so happy! Next week we’ll go back to America where loads of people have everything, but are on anti-depressents!” ‘Bout right.
Picture posts from El Salvador for the next few days.