Reflection from a Saint Patrick´s Delegate
This is a reflection written by Debi Covert-Bowlds, a delegate from the St. Patrick´s parish in Seattle, Washington. The small group of five came in mid Novemember to learn more about their sistering community in Chalatenango called Nueva Trinidad.
Since we’ve returned from El Salvador, the people of our sister community Nueva Trinidad dominate my dreams, as if part of my spirit continues to dwell with them. I continually think of the people of this dear country, proud that they are standing up to the Archbishop, who closed down the human rights office of Tutela Legal that was entrusted with 50 thousand case files of victims of the war, demanding the files be released to the care of the victims’ families; that they have marched to demand justice for Pro-Busqueda (Pro-Search), which was terrorized by armed gunmen who torched the case files used to find children who were disappeared and sold into adoption internationally by military officials; and that the people continue to push the judicial system to nullify the Impunity Law, so that these cases can be tried, justice is upheld, reparations are made, and historical memory is emblazened in public record.
I carry in my heart the suffering of the people, especially made real when I placed my fingers in the bullet holes in the hefty metal doors of the Church of the Rosary in San Salvador, doors riddled by the military massacre of citizens calling for justice and democracy. I felt I was placing my fingers into the wounds of the crucified Christ. I am grateful for the 21 years St. Patrick’s Catholic Church has been gifted to accompany, build and deepen our relationship with Nueva Trinidad, advocating for justice alongside these dear sisters and brothers for their beloved country. I learned that the international voice of solidarity is a key component of hope for the Salvadorans, and their fear is we will abandon or forget them. I returned with a deeper understanding that our commitment in this relationship is a joy as well as a responsibility. I carry with me the importance of continuing to learn from and encourage one another in this sistering relationship, grounded in a deep spirituality that bears our hope.