Joyful celebrations and heart-breaking stories - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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December 2022 newsletter


Coralis Salvador, U.S.-Mexico Border

Opening prayer at our Thanksgiving celebration at Sacred Heart

Warm Christmas greetings from the El Paso border!

Since fall, our intentional community home has hosted several guests whose goal was to experience the ministries at the border. They returned home changed and motivated to make a diffference in themselves and share the experience with their families and communities.

My friend with the newborn

We joined Sacred Heart’s Thanksgiving celebration. It took three days to prepare the meals and convert the gym into a restaurant setting. Almost a thousand guests — migrants, homeless, marginalized families, parishioner families and many volunteers from all walks of life — made the celebration meaningful.

Father Rafael opened the event an hour early because it was too cold outside the gym to let the guests wait in line. The sit-down dinner honored the guests as they were waited upon by volunteers with coffee, juice, turkey with all the trimmings, and pumpkin pie.

It was such a joy to see the merriment and camaraderie among all guests. Since volunteers kept coming in every hour, I was freed from the kitchen work and relegated to where hosting, serving and cleaning tables were needed. In spite of being on my feet for eight hours, it felt like I had wings of joy from sensing the appreciation and satisfaction of our guests.

At Annunciation House’s Casa Vides, we often hear heart-breaking stories from our migrant guests. A friend and fellow volunteer felt enamored with a 3-day old infant. The pregnant mother had been at the point of entry on the U.S.-Mexico bridge to seek asylum when her water broke; she was rushed to an El Paso hospital, and after delivery, both were released to Casa Vides. They stayed with us until they got their airline tickets from her relatives on the East Coast.

An infant in a walker at Casa Vides

Another infant has stayed with us since birth. His pregnant mother was kidnapped and delivered him during captivity. The mother did not know where they were (in El Paso or Juárez). She and the baby were found abandoned in a park from where a good Samaritan brought them to a hospital in El Paso.

Last month they finally received his birth certificate through the work of Las Americas, a pro-bono legal and advocacy organization. The mother is still awaiting her documents; they hope to move to New Jersey. Please keep them in your prayers so they will be able to join their relatives soon.

On a personal note, I will complete my Maryknoll Lay Missioners contract this December and have requested an 18-month extension. I’ll be on a 30-day retreat in January to discern where next I’m called. By God’s grace, I’ll be back!

I’m grateful for your prayers and support since we started this journey in December 2000. Let’s continue to pray for one another and for all whom we serve.

Sending you loads of blessings for this Christmas and the New Year!

Much love,

Please consider making a special gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign, which 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. Now and through Dec. 31, thanks to matching gifts, every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. To donate ONLINE, click the “Walk With Us” button below. Thank you so much for your generosity!


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?