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Summer 2022 newsletter

 

Coralis Salvador, U.S.-Mexico Border

Good Friday Way of the Cross at Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, Texas

 

“Compelled by faith to engage with people across cultures and ethnicities, we live, love and work with communities on the margins to promote active nonviolence and healing.”

New Maryknoll Lay Missioners Mission Statement, Feb. 2022

Greetings with love from the U.S.-Mexico border!

The commemoration of Holy Week at Sacred Heart Parish reminded me of my Mombasa days. The Way of the Cross was reenacted by the students and parents of its catechism class. The parishioners followed the reenactment as the crowd.

It was a moving reflection moment and powerfully reminded us of Christ’s word from the Last Supper: “Love one another, just as I love you” (John 15:12). As is often said, there is nothing we can do to take away the love of God; you and I are the Beloved. Are we being beloved to others?

 

Encuentro Project

Since March and through May, we have had seven groups participating in border immersion experiences. The impact on the majority of our participants is profound. As one of them put it, “I had no expectations coming into the program. I was amazed at how little I knew about the plight of asylum seekers trying to come into the U.S. I learned so much from all of the presenters and the people we visited throughout the weekend. In El Paso, I have experienced so many people working together to live out the Gospel message.”

 

Playing peekaboo at Casa Vides

Casa Vides

Every day during this quarter, detention centers and border patrol have relased many processed asylum seekers. What that means is that these migrants are released with documents pertaining to their court date hearings about their status. We have recently also received more migrants from Ukraine and Turkey. I’m glad we have Google Translate on hand to communicate and assist them better as they move on to their final home in the U.S.

I very much enjoy my time with the children; they bring out the grandma in me. One 4-year-old girl wanted to play hide and seek. Since our reception, living room and dining area are in one open space, we could not do it. So she resorted to peekaboo. She took her jacket and hid her face under it. When I said “Boo,” she opened it with the most angelic giggle. Wherever I went, she followed me to continue the game. It was such a blessing to see her creative play and joyful spirit.

The majority of our guests willingly pitch in to keep the house clean and orderly, especially after each meal. One guest showed her appreciation by knitting the volunteers skullcaps; others are supportive of fellow guests. There definitely is a strong sense of family spirit at Casa Vides.

As I write this newsletter a few days after the Uvalde massacre, I found this caption to a post on Facebook by an unknown: “A saint was asked, ‘What is anger?’ She/he gave a beautiful answer: ‘It is a punishment you give to yourself for somebody else’s mistakes.’ ” We have to advocate for nonviolence and choose to love one another.

I would love to hear from you, especially how you’re choosing to love.

Many thanks and blessings to you,
Coralis

Mealtime at Casa Vides

 


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. 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 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?