Quiero decirle... hemos orado por ustedes, pidiendo fortaleza al Creador y una pronta esperanza de vivir en paz.
I want to tell you that we have prayed for you, begging strength from the Creator, and an urgent hope to live in peace.
                                                                 --Padre Joaquín of Tenancingo, Letter concerning September 11

SAINT CLOUD AREA AND TENANCINGO, EL SALVADOR, SISTER COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER

Volume IX, Number 3: Fall 2001


In this Issue:


¡Bienvenid@s! Tenancingo Delegation Arrives October 23! See below for opportunities to participate!

Our four sister and brothers from Tenancingo will arrive Tuesday, October 23, to spend two weeks here in the Saint Cloud area. Those coming are: Marta Julia Menjivar of Corral Viejo, Elias Gonzalez Pacas of El Pepeto, Marcelo Fabian of El Pepeto, and Mercedes del Carmen Montalvo Paz of Tenancingo itself.

A full two weeks is planned for them, with many opportunities for PAB friends and supporters to share in their experiences. As mentioned last newsletter, a priority will be to give our Salvadoran guests an experience of Central Minnesota family life. We are very grateful to four families from the area who have agreed to host our visitors: The Rick and Ginny Green family of St. Cloud and 1st United Methodist Church, the Mike and Diane Brum family of Clear Lake and Christ Church Newman Center Parish, the Dan and Jane Fark family of St. Cloud and Salem Lutheran Church, and the Tim and Lisa Mortensen family of Sauk Rapids and St. Augustine's Parish.

On Thursday, October 25, friends of PAB as well as the general public are invited to join our guests for an official Welcome by the City of Saint Cloud's. The event is hosted by Mayor Larry Meyer, and takes place at 7 PM, at the Paramount Theater on St. Germain. Light refreshments will be served. On Friday, October 26, PAB's Fall Fundraiser will take place at the Rox Bar and Grill on St. Germain from 4-8 PM-see back page for details. Our guests from Tenancingo will be in attendance both days. Finally, all are invited to the Farewell (Despedida) on Sunday afternoon, November 4, from 3-5 PM at O'Connell's in the Haehn Center on the CSB campus.

Many thanks to Cellular 2000 of St. Cloud, who has agreed to provide a cell phone to facilitate communication during the Salvadorans' visit. Drivers are also still needed for some days listed below--call Dennis Beach, OSB at 363-2997 if you can help! Call also if you want to help welcome the delegates at the MSP airport on Tuesday the 23rd at 5:30 PM.

Tuesday, Oct. 23: Arrival 5:32pm, MSP airport.
Group spends the night at the Tristani home
Wednesday, Oct. 24: Orientation to culture and schedule.
Trip to The Mission Shop for warm clothing.
Lunch at St. Scholastica's Monastery.
Down time at family home
Dinner for host families and guests
Evening: Guests home with host families.
Thursday, Oct. 25: Option: Visit host family schools
Option: Trip to Stearns County Historical Museum.
Down time at family home on Briggs Lake.
Dinner with host families.
7 pm Welcome from City at Paramount Theater
All PAB folks & friends are invited!
Friday, Oct. 26: Driver needed morning - 2 PM.
Visit Community Shelter (Housing issues)
Lunch with Spanish Club at SCSU.
Down time at Briggs Lake or with host families (if needed)
4 - 8pm PAB Fundraiser at the Rox on Germain.
Saturday, Oct. 27: With host families.
Sunday, Oct. 28: With host families and their faith communities.
Monday, Oct. 29: To Mille Lacs, Headstart, pipe ceremony, Indian Museum.
Tuesday, Oct. 30: Two guests to Staples HS; two guests to Rocori Middle School (AM) and Tech High School (PM) (tentative)
Drivers needed for morning and afternoon!
Wednesday, Oct. 31: 9 - 11am Anna Marie's
11:15am - 1:30pm Whitney Senior Center
2 - 4pm Pastoral Center, "Conversations" with Steve Gottwalt & interview with Visitor
Thursday, Nov. 1: Visits to classes at CSB/SJU
Mass at Saint Benedict's Chapel, 5:00 PM
Evening discussion at CSB: "Faith & the Struggle for Human Dignity."
Friday, Nov. 2: 8:15am Mass with children at St. John's Elementary School in Foley.
Visits and lunch with St. John's students in Foley.
1:00pm to St. Mary's Cathedral Elementary, St. Cloud
Saturday, Nov. 3: 9am - 2pm Visit to Scherping family farm in Freeport.
Remainder of day with host families.
Sunday, Nov. 4: Morning in host faith communities.
3 - 5pm Despedida (Good Bye Party) at St. Ben's.
5:30pm supper with Benedictine Sisters.
Overnight in Guest House at St. Ben's.
Monday, Nov. 5: Leave St. Cloud at 6:30am; 10:15am departure
Volunteers are still needed to help with translating, driving, accompanying visits. Please contact:
  • Dennis Beach, OSB (at St. John's): 320/363-2997 // e-mail: dbeach@csbsju.edu
  • Rosanne Fischer (at the Mission Office): 320/252-1100 e-mail: mission@cloudnet.com
  • Anne Malerich, OSB, (at St. Scholastica's): 320/ 251-2225.

Messages of Solidarity Concerning the Events of September 11, 2001

As the tragic events of September 11 paralyzed us in America--North America as our Central American neighbors like to remind us!--word and images of what had happened spread around the world almost instantaneously. How comforting it has been to receive the following words of consolation!

The September phone call to Tenancingo was scheduled for September 12, and Sister Anne made it. When she asked Elias if they had any questions for us, he asked immediately, "Yes, how is it in the States now after the disaster yesterday?" Sister Anne assured Elias Gonzalez Pacas that, amid grief and prayer, we were trying to move forward. "Thank you. I wanted to be able to tell the communities because we're all wondering about you." How moving to feel the concern we've expressed about them after war and hurricanes and droughts and earthquakes reciprocated so sincerely!

The following letter is from Father Joaquín Meléndez Ávila, the parish priest in Tenancingo. St John's Abbey and the St. Cloud Diocese have supported their pastoral ministry teams in Human Rights and Health Care with financial contributions.

15 September 2001

Dear Brother Dennis:

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. As we go forward, then, may God accompany us amid our sorrows and hopes.

Always your servant,
Padre Joaquín Meléndez Ávila
Pastor

*In March, 2000, on the 20th anniversary of Arbishop Romerio's Assassination, I gave Padre Joaquín a Spanish copy of St. Cloud Bishop Kinney's pastoral letter on social justice, As I Have Done for You…. -Dennis]


SHARE reported on September 15 that they had been receiving a host of messages and visitors-our Salvadoran partners wanting to convey their sorrow and solidarity with all of us. A few highlights:


Goals for the Visit to Saint Cloud by Members of the Tenancingo Community

We hope that the delegates from El Salvador and their communities will benefit by this visit in at least some of the following ways. When they return the delegates will:

  1. Have shared with the folks in Minnesota about their experiences of the war, struggles for land, basic necessities and economic stability, their struggle to overcome natural disasters (earthquake, drought, hurricanes...);
  2. Have shared information and stories about their efforts to organize and work together on various levels and their successes, hopes, obstacles;
  3. Have shared about their needs, proposed projects, as well as successes and obstacles to success with regard to projects;
  4. Have experienced family life in Minnesota as lived by ordinary Christian families;
  5. Have experienced church communities, pastoral work, and youth at various school levels;
  6. Better understand better how PAB functions in its advocacy work and in fundraising efforts;
  7. Gain some understanding of the problem of domestic violence as it is experienced in Minnesota and the US, violence against both women and children, as well as experience some things being done to address the problems;
  8. Have shared about what gives them hope and what causes them fears for the future;
  9. Deepen the relations with PAB and the bonding with the civic, religious, educational, agricultural, and business communities that support the work of PAB; and understand better PAB's functioning and struggle to make known here the realities of life and struggle in El Salvador.

Delegation Goals for PAB and the Saint Cloud Area Community

After the delegation leaves, members of PAB and the St. Cloud Area community will:

  1. Have a better sense of friendship and bonding with the people in Tenancingo and surrounding communities, and with the people of El Salvador in general;
  2. Understand better their struggles with war and against their lack of a voice in their political structures;
  3. Understand better their struggle against earthquakes and floods and the local and national structures that convert these natural disasters into human and social disasters;
  4. Have an better appreciation of Tenancingo's efforts at organizing, and goals achieved by it, on the levels of local communities, women, youth, parish, municipality and nation;
  5. Will have provided experiences of family life in mid-Minnesota, as well as experiences of civic, religious, agricultural, business, social and educational realities and functioning;
  6. Have a clearer idea of present needs and projects, obstacles and efforts being made towards development; what are their sources of strength and hope, and how PAB can respond to their needs on the levels of political, moral and material assistance.
  7. Understand better how PAB might be able to respond to their need in our accompaniment.

 

Partners Across Borders' newsletter is edited by Dennis Beach, OSB. It appears three times a year. Contributions are welcome!

PAB Meetings are held the 1st Monday of every month at Salem Lutheran Church, 90 Riverside Dr. SE, St. Cloud. Please note the new day and location. All are welcome!

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Travel to El Salvador and Tenancingo
next July with PAB!

Join Partners Across Borders' delegation to EL Salvador next summer and help celebrate the 10th anniversary of our wonderful sistering partnership! Over the years nearly 70 people from the Saint Cloud area have visited Tenancingo. Certainly not all spoke Spanish-we always provide translators. But certainly all who have gone want to tell everyone they know-including you-about this wonderful experience that is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming. It's heartbreaking in a good way-the warmth of the people who greet us and welcome us into their communities breaks down the barriers and walls we often surround ourselves with us. And it's heartwarming because their enthusiasm and love and friendship give more to us than we bring to them. Tentative dates of trip are July 8-19, 2002; and the preliminary estimate of cost is $1200.00, although this depends on what happens to airfares. Br. Dennis Beach will be helping lead the trip-let him know if you are interested in being a part of the delegation: ph: 363-2997; e-mail: dbeach@csbsju.edu.


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