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
Volume IX, Number 3: Fall 2001
In this Issue:
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
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
- 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
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rosanne Fischer (at the Mission Office): 320/252-1100 e-mail: email@example.com
- Anne Malerich, OSB, (at St. Scholastica's): 320/ 251-2225.
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
"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.
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
*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
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:
- CRIPDES Rural communities, staff and leadership: "We want you to
know that solidarity in the face of human suffering has been one of the fundamental values
in our struggle and we know that many of you have been moved by that value. We carry you
in our prayers and we ask from the deepest parts of each one of us for the strength to
overcome the tragedy that the U.S. people have suffered."
- Suyapa Perez of the Jesuit University (UCA): "Hello. I don't want
to let this day go without telling you how sorry I am for the pain that your people has
. The pain of the victims always tastes like losing the battle of humanizing
ourselves. The pain hurts, the blindness, the arrogance, the wrong and unpunishable
policies that have affected the exterior so many times before, but it hurts today at this
moment. The tragedy, the unknowing how we'll go on, the consequences of all colors. I just
want to let you know that my heart is connected with this tragedy that affects us all. A
tight hug and my love, your friend Suyapa."
- Fr. Daniel Sanchez stopped by yesterday to introduce the new pastor Fr.
Miguel and to say that his parish, Maria Madre de los Pobres is drafting
a solidarity message and call to reflection. They want to present it to SHARE at Sunday's
service, so Sara Stowell, our El Salvador Office director will go to receive it.
- Dave Johnson of SHARE ('99 PAB delegate): "For the past two weeks
El Salvador has been immersed in a profound sadness revolving around the terrorist attacks
in New York and Washington D.C. There is a sense of loss and compassion that can only come
from a people who know, all too vividly, our pain. This past Sunday I was invited to mass
at a large, urban poor parish in San Salvador, Maria Madre de los Pobres. The community
wanted to share their grief and sympathy with me, hoping that I might be a conduit between
their parish and the many North Americans they have come to know well, through delegations
facilitated by SHARE. During the mass Sara Stowell and I were read a beautiful letter
expressing sadness and solidarity, after which community members were invited to share
their reflections with us. Four people accepted the invitation. Each of the four expressed
their heartfelt condolences
- Zach Remis, CSB Tennis coach, March 2000 delegate for the
Romero Anniversary, and frequent visitor to the elementary school in Tenancingo,
received this simple phone message from a former student of Tenancingo teacher
Roberto Cerros Aguilar, now studying law in the US, "We are sorry for your
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:
- 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...);
- Have shared information and stories about their efforts to organize and work together on
various levels and their successes, hopes, obstacles;
- Have shared about their needs, proposed projects, as well as successes and obstacles to
success with regard to projects;
- Have experienced family life in Minnesota as lived by ordinary Christian families;
- Have experienced church communities, pastoral work, and youth at various school levels;
- Better understand better how PAB functions in its advocacy work and in fundraising
- 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;
- Have shared about what gives them hope and what causes them fears for the future;
- 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
Delegation Goals for PAB and the Saint Cloud Area
After the delegation leaves, members of PAB and the St. Cloud Area community will:
- 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;
- Understand better their struggles with war and against their lack of a voice in their
- Understand better their struggle against earthquakes and floods and the local and
national structures that convert these natural disasters into human and social disasters;
- 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;
- Will have provided experiences of family life in mid-Minnesota, as well as experiences
of civic, religious, agricultural, business, social and educational realities and
- 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.
- 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!
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.