Ellacuria / El Salvador Ministry
Ministry objective: We endeavor to walk in solidarity with the people of El Salvador and to be their voice in our country.
- Build relationships through communication, delegations and prayer
- Learn about the current issues and struggles facing our sisters and brothers
- Assist the community in addressing needs through the funding of projects
- Share information about Ellacuria and El Salvador with the larger Good Shepherd community
- Advocate for the people of El Salvador within US political and business settings
The ministry meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Mary of Magdala Chapel (inside the south entrance to the church). To receive a copy of the next meeting agenda, email Ron Leonhardt.
Where is Ellacuria?
Ellacuria, a community of about 175 families, is part of the department of Chalatenango in the northern mountainous part of El Salvador. (*See map below)
How did we get involved?
Our relationship with our Ellacuria sister parish grew out of the killing of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter, on November 16, 1989, at the University of Central America, a Jesuit institution in the capitol, San Salvador. These priests were speaking out about the oppression toward Salvadoran people during El Salvador’s decade long civil war throughout the 1980s.
The following Sunday Father Paul Daniels, pastor at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, spoke about the assassinations during his homily and challenged the parishioners of Good Shepherd to educate themselves about what was happening in El Salvador. Over the next several months a Central America Study group was formed at Good Shepherd and 30 to 40 parishioners regularly attended these meetings.
In August 1990 two Good Shepherd parishioners went to El Salvador as part of a SHARE (Salvadoran Humanitarian Aid, Research and Education) delegation which invited religious communities to join religious events while witnessing the situation in El Salvador. The people of the area had just returned to their war-torn community from refugee camps in Honduras. The residents of Corral de Piedra renamed their community in honor of Fr. Ignacio Ellacuria, one of the Jesuits who had been killed. During this August 1990 visit, Good Shepherd parishioners Rich Harter and Loretta Grow visited the community of Ellacuria in rural northern El Salvador. This was the start of Good Shepherd’s twinning relationship with the community of Ellacuria.
A peace accord was finally signed in 1991.
Since that first visit Good Shepherd has had 14 more visits to Ellacuria (through 2022). Good Shepherd has also sponsored people from Ellacuria visiting Good Shepherd on several occasions. The most recent was when Rosa and Juanita visited us in 2016.
What have we done to support the Ellacuria community?
With funds from Combined Collections and our Fair Trade sales, Good Shepherd has helped fund the construction of a church (Our Lady of the Rosary), additions to the school, a safe water distribution system and anti-delinquency workshops for youth, since gangs are a big problem in El Salvador. Most recently our parish provided funding for a new corn grinder, truck tires and repairs to the garage where the community’s truck is stored.
Fair Trade Sales:
The ministry conducts a Fair Trade sale of coffee, chocolate and olive oil after Mass three times a year. Profits of the sales are used to fund needs in Ellacuria and support delegations to and from Ellacuria.
How can you help?
You do not need to be a member of the ministry to support its work (although you are most certainly welcome). You can pray for our sisters and brothers in Ellacuria and the people of El Salvador. Consider being part of a delegation. Buy products at the Fair Trade Sale or donate other funds. Write letters and email and make phone calls to our federal representatives on important issues facing the people of El Salvador.