This letter is from Father Joaquin Melendez Avila,
the parish priest in Tenancingo, El Salvador, Saint Cloud's sister city. Saint Cloud
donors have supported their pastoral ministry teams in Human Rights and Health Care
15 September 2001
With much respect and affection toward your fellow countrymen, I present to you, in the name of the whole parish, our most sincere sorrow for the pain and anguish your people have experienced in the tragic events of Tuesday the 11th.
I want to tell you personally, your community, and all the people of Minnesota, that we have prayed for you, begging strength from the Creator, and an urgent hope to live in peace. On the other side, we condemn such an abominable deed, knowing that over and above whatever personal or group interest , there is the dignity and sanctity of the human person:
"Each one of us is so loved by God that the only possible response that we can offer is to love God in return and to love and respect all that God has created. In this sacred dignity all humans are equal. Respect for the dignity of others allows for no distinctions or discrimination....." (Pastoral Letter of Bishop John F. Kinney)*
May you know all our high regard for you; we hold you very near [present]. As we go forward, then, may God accompany us amid our sorrows and hopes.
[S.S.S. = Sincerely, your servant?]
Joaquín Meléndez Ávila
[* I gave Padre Joaquín a Spanish copy of Bishop Kinney's pastoral letter on social justice, As I Have Done for You ]