El Paso's welcoming communities - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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December 2021 newsletter


Coralis Salvador, U.S.-Mexico Border

Bishop Seitz at our November Encuentro

“We are meant to bring new love into the world, to be birthers of Love.”
—Gerald G. May

Christmas greetings from the U.S.-Mexico border!

During our November Encuentro, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso gave a talk to our participants of deacons. He was asked what made the El Paso border different from other borders. His reply focused on the welcoming spirit and self-giving atttitude of the different communities — faith-based and other organizations — especially toward the marginalized, migrants and asylum seekers.

Our Bishop Seitz is commited to social justice for all. This was highlighted at El Paso Memorial Park last year, when he and other priests holding “Black Lives Matter” signs, knelt in silent prayer for eight minutes and 46 seconds in symbolic recognition of racial injustice in our country.

Día de los Muertos altar

I’ve been blessed to be here working with many volunteers (who come from all over the United States), different faith-based organizations and individual El Pasoans ready to give themselves for a common cause of service. I also enjoy the city’s spirit of valuing traditions either through agriculture, social and family values.

As Halloween neared, I asked the son of a colleague of Mexican heritage if he’s looking forward to doing Trick or Treat. He said he and his siblings preferred their traditional Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It’s a celebration (Oct 31 to Nov 2) during which people honor and welcome the spirit of their departed love ones with festivities and set-up altars at home and in public places. The altars have pictures of the departed, flowers, candles, and favorite food/drinks.

I was reminded of our similar tradition in the Philippines, where festivities are held by the gravesites of loved ones, welcoming relatives or friends to spend the day together.

In October, five women in my extended community went on a retreat to discern if we’re called to live out our lives together in an intentional community of common spiritual goal and service. I ask for your prayers as we continue in this process.

As we close this year, I’m grateful for your participation in our missions. I pray that the New Year brings you abundant blessings, great health and joy.

Many thanks,

Santa brought Christmas cheer to the shelter.

I am so grateful for your continuing support of my ministry. During this season of giving, I would like to urge you to consider making a special gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign. This new campaign raises money for the recruitment, training and ongoing support of all of us lay missioners. We can only “walk with” the people here because you are “walking with” us.

A group of donors has already pledged to match the dollars raised by this campaign 2-to-1. That means that every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. This campaign will ensure that Maryknoll Lay Missioners will be able to continue to send and to support missioners like me in the years to come. Please pray for the success of this campaign and if you can, please donate at the “Walk With Us” button below. 


Coralis Salvador
Coralis is a community volunteer at a shelter for asylum seekers released from ICE or CBP detentions and at “La Tilma” feeding program of Sacred Heart Church in El Paso, Texas. She previously served with Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Kenya for 19 years. She is the co-author of the Orbis book What’s So Blessed About Being Poor?