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El Salvador 2008: Day 9 – Santa Maria Virgen

Today is Sunday and our last full day in El Salvador. We returned to Santa Maria Virgen this morning to worship with our sister parish. Father Julio and Mark co-celebrated, with assistance from three Yale Divinity School students who are also visiting El Salvador.

Father Julio welcomes us

The Sunday School at Santa Maria Virgen

Following the service was a special program for the mothers in the parish, including live music and performances by the children.

Three hours later we said our goodbyes to Santa Maria Virgen, but not before renewing the spirit of friendship our two parishes have shared for nearly twenty years.

On our drive back we stopped at two sobering places. One was at the edge of a shantytown in the center of San Salvador.

We also stopped at a cemetery to view the tomb of the father of our driver, Arselio. His father was shot dead by government security forces on the steps of the Roman Catholic cathedral in May 1979, during a protest about labor conditions.

We arrived back at our home base mid-afternoon for a lunch. Most of our group will take a tour of a museum this afternoon, while a few others will remain behind to start to organize for our departure. This includes packing clothes, medical supplies, and other materials we are leaving behind to be used by the Diocese.

Tonight we will reconvene as a group at 6pm for a team meeting to debrief on our week, followed by a last dinner. The main dish will be papusas, the national dish of El Salvador.

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