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Diocese of Cleveland Celebrates 50 years in El Salvador

I had the great privilege to do a short mission trip
to El Salvador back in late May of 2012. Five of us seminarians from the Diocese of Cleveland went to experience our Diocesan mission that has been actively staffed by priests, sisters, and laypeople for the last 50 years.
What became so evidently clear over our short trip was the prevalence of faith within the people of El Salvador. Their faith meant so much to them. Despite having so little, they offered so much to us visitors.

To illustrate this point, I remember going on an "evangelization" trip with a group of volunteers from San Pedro parish in Teotepeque. We went up and down these narrow long steep streets visiting some parishioners. Some of the evangelizers wanted to see why some folks were not attending mass. Some wanted to simply check in on some of
the elderly of the parish. I'll never forget one woman in particular. She had to be in her mid 70s and took care of two of her granddaughters. When we approached the house, one of the granddaughters called for her. The  granddaughters set up chairs for us as we waited for their grandmother. When she finally came I stood to welcome her. With a big smile on her face, she motioned for me to sit. Up to this point, we had visited about 8 other houses, but this was the first homeowner who only wanted to speak with the foreigner. Despite having my Spanish slowly come back to me, she wanted to hear about me. She wanted to also share a bit of her life. It was such a blessed moment for me to have a conversation with a woman who just seemed to be on fire with the Holy Spirit.

Eventually, when we got up to leave, she told us to wait. She went into a pile of her clean laundry and pulled out a white handkerchief. She came up to me and told me that I should use it for my feet. It was perhaps one of the first times in my life where I truly felt the Gospel come alive right in front of me. While this woman did not wash my feet like Christ, she wanted to do as much as she could for me despite having so very little. It was so difficult for me to accept so much, but it meant the world for her that she was helping me somehow on my mission.

I think this story sums up the generosity of the Salvadorian people in the missions that we serve as a Diocese. On the weekend of January 31st, February 1st we will have a Diocesan-wide collection to support our mission in El Salvador.

To learn more about our mission, watch the video below: