Escuelitas with María Elena

(Para leer en español, haz clíc aquí)

The following is an account about the “escuelitas,” the little theology schools that María Elena facilitates every month in La Libertad and Morazán. This witness was written by Inocente, from El Limón in La Libertad, and is about the August workshop, the third of the current session. Enjoy!




We find ourselves together for the third school of formation. August is a month with a richness of martirial memory in El Salvador and in all of Latin America. We have the martyrdom of Father  Alirio Napoleón Macías on August 4, 1979 and in 1976 Enrique Angelelli, prophet and martyr of the poor, bishop of La Rioja, Argentina; on the fifteenth, we celebrate the birth of our pastor “Saint Romero of the Americas,” on August 22 we commemorate the massacre of peasants in  El Calabozo, in the municipality of San Esteban Catarina, San Vicente and on August 31, 1988 the death of Leónidas Proaño, bishop of the indigenous in Riobamba, Ecuador.

With this abundant seedbed of life, love, and hope, we prepare for our gathering. We always meet at the entrance to the church of San Antonio in Santa Tecla, and this time, they opened its doors so the faithful could participate in Sunday mass. Adilio took on the adventure of accquiring the missal that was sold for 10 cents. That was when Santiago arrived with two youth from the community of El Triunfo, as well as María Elena and our women-companions from the community of Las Mesas. After chatting and joking around for awhile about how “priests like putting on a show” (except for a few) we left for the Base community of Jardines de Colón, where Pedro Pérez (Bishop of the poor) and Miguel, the youth leader in the community met us with joy.

Symbols used during the opening prayer of the gathering.

Jardines de Colón is a Christian Base Community founded in 1980 with a long history of struggles, tests, and strengths. We prayed together with a richness of symbols and photographs of the martyrs and some of the community’s founders. Fireworks that flew through the air with joyful roars confirmed the illuminating presence of our martyrs.

After a snack, we read the minutes of our last meeting as a school and recalled the first meeting, where we talked about the historical Jesus and the Christ of the Faith. The theme this time was the actions of Jesus.

We began, reflecting about the fundamental characteristics of Jesus, who was said to be compassionate, a person of solidarity, revolutionary, loving, political, rebellious, and subversive, because he tried to change the unjust established order. In conclusion, Jesus was both poetic and realistic, both tender and demanding, merciful and radical, quiet and an opportune speaker, contemplative and active. We split up into five groups to find biblical references that supported these characteristics of Jesus.

Group # 1: Poetry and Reality. This group reflected that Jesus was a poet who narrated and created, using metaphors and imagery to make known the Reign, as in Mark 4, wherein Jesus narrates the parable of the Sower. However, Jesus is also very realistic when he refers to the poor, saying that they understand because they have already “entered” into the Reign and that those outside will not understand until they convert.

Group # 2: Tender and Demanding. We see these characteristics reflected when parents love their children, and also when they correct their children’s errors. Jesus forgives our sins and wants us to claim responsibility for the errors of the past. The tenderness of Jesus is shown in love for life and for our neighbor.

Group # 3: Merciful and Radical. Jesus feels for the crowds and does the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, solidarity in practice, and everyone ate until they were full (Mark 6:34). We see that Jesus is radical in Matthew 4:1-11, when Jesus is tempted by demons but stays true to his mission.

One of the small groups talks about the characteristics of Jesus that they found in the Gospels.

Group # 4: Quiet and an Opportune Speaker. The quiet is shown in all of the suffering of Jesus during the Passion, and his silence before Pontius Pilate. Jesus speaks an opportune word when he resurrects the daughter of Jairus and asks others not to tell what they have seen. We also talked about the denial of Peter and the Last Supper and treason of Judas.

Group # 5: Contemplative and Active. Jesus prayed to the Father in the most difficult moments of his life, and he contemplated the situation of injustice in which the poor lived. But Jesus was also very active in announcing the Reign of God and denouncing structural sin. His activity can also be seem in the wedding at Cana, when he changes that water into wine.

We ended the day happy and with a sense of commitment. After singing “Vamos Tod@s al Banquete/Let’s All Go to the Banquet,” we shared lunch that had been prepared for us with great dedication. Until next time, in my beloved community El Limón.

By: Inocente Reyes Carranza

Community El Limón, Region of El Bálsamo, Santa Tecla, La Libertad.


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