Title: THE CROSS OF LIBERATION AND HOPE
Grade: Appropriate for use with any grade level, including adult participants, or in a retreat setting.
Background/Overview: Crosses of Hope are made by refugees living on the border of El Salvador and Honduras. The crosses are an expression of the faith and hope of the people in the midst of their suffering.
The images of life depicted on the cross are things that give the people meaning in their everyday livessun, land, village, family, home, animals, etc.and where they find God present to them. The cross is their sign of liberation and hope. It is also a sign of their belief that the future will be better.
Using bright colorsyellow, red, green, blueconveys their hopeful spirit.
Suggested Time: 45 minutes to one hour
This is an opportunity to provide information about the suffering of the people of El Salvador: in the 1980s, 80,000 innocent poor people were killed by so-called "death squads," in a 12 year long civil war. Among the victims of this armed conflict were Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, four Churchwomen, two of whom were Maryknoll Sisters, one an Ursuline Sister and one a Maryknoll lay missioner. In addition, six Jesuit priests who taught at the University of Central America, their housekeeper and her daughter were killed. The 10th anniversary remembrance of their deaths can be seen at http://www.creighton.edu/collaborativeministry/10th-anniv.html.
Many Salvadorans fled to the borders of Honduras or to the United States, if they could afford it. In recent years, El Salvador has suffered terribly from devastating earthquakes, leaving thousands homeless or living in squalor. See http://www.maryknoll.org/GLOBAL/ALERTS/quak_elsalv3.htm.
Vivid pictures of the Salvadoran countryside, and its people, customs, churches, plants, and animals can be found in the photo gallery of a native Salvadoran at http://www.datapillar.net/elsalvador/INGLISH.htm.
Further information about El Salvador can be found at the following web sites:
Conclude with prayer for peace and healing for the people of El Salvador.
As a possible follow-up action plan, suggest a fund-raising drive to help the Salvadoran people recover from the devastating earthquake in January 2001.
Adapted from Focus on Central America with permission from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.