-Elizabeth O’Hara, RHC Editor and Marco Raposo, Dir., Peace and Justice Ministry
“SOLIDARITY will transform the world!” This is one of the slogans from the Catholic Relief Service (CRS), a Catholic organization centered on solidarity as part of the mission of the Church. For parishioners in the
Diocese of El Paso, that mission will take them to our sister diocese in Choluteca, Honduras starting May 17.
“We are looking forward to meeting our brothers and sisters in Honduras and sharing with them about ourselves, as we seek to deepen and strengthen our ecclesial relationship centered on our common discipleship of Jesus,” said Marco Raposo, director of the Peace and Justice Ministry.
Raposo said the El Paso delegation is made up of about two small groups of approximately four people each which will go visit two parishes in Choluteca: San Andres and San Antonio. Though some of the “solidary ambassadors” as they are called, have experience in missioning in other countries, others have not.
“It’s a personal call for me,” said Adriana Posadas, a solidarity ambassador from St. Mark Parish.
Honduras has an estimated population of almost 8 million people or approximately the population of New York City. It is the 4th poorest country in the Americas.
A special Mass collection is held once a year in El Paso for the assistance of Choluteca. This year, it will be held Jun. 6-7.
“It became clear for us that one way to help the people in the Diocese of Choluteca in their own efforts for human development was to invest in the areas of education and healthcare,” said Raposo.
This year’s trip will also give solidarity ambassadors a chance to follow up on many of the refugees helped by the Diocese of El Paso last year.
In the summer of 2014, approximately 2,000 refugees arrived in El Paso from Central America, the majority from Honduras, said Raposo. The plight of the immigrants, especially women and unaccompanied children, left a lasting impression on those who volunteered to help them.
“I want to go meet my brothers and sister Hondureños and get to know them better as I am helping them here at Nazareth Hall,” said Eina Holder, a parishoner at St. Pius.
Bishop Seitz spoke before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington D.C. in June 2014 regarding concerns of repatriating unaccompanied minors.
“Pope Francis decried the ‘globalization of indifference’ and the ‘throwaway culture’ that lead to the disregard of those fleeing persecution or seeking a better life,” testified Bishop Seitz. “In Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father speaks particularly of the importance of work with migrants and notes that it is essential for Catholics ‘to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability [including migrants and refugees] in which we are called to recognize the suffering of Christ.’”
The solidarity trip will last about 10 days, said Raposo. Upon arriving back in El Paso, the ambassadors will debrief on their experiences, add to the curriculum for the next trip and begin recruitment efforts for next year’s travel group.