Well, my parents are gone now. They left yesterday. We had a great time with them and it was very sad around my house last night. This is the part I hate about being a missionary…sigh.
Anyway, as I said in my last post, we got to do lots of fun stuff while they were here. One of the things I really enjoyed was getting a little more of El Salvador’s history. On Monday we toured the National Cathedral, including a visit to Oscar Romero’s grave, and also the National Palace. I have included some pictures below but I’m warning you that they are horrible pictures! I think I had the wrong setting, or the flash off or something. I’m a pretty bad photographer so I hope you can still get an idea of where we were and what we saw.
For those of you who don’t know much about El Salvador, the country suffered a brutal civil war from 1980-1992. There were many human rights atrocities committed by both sides in this war and by the time the Peace Accords were finally drafted 75,000 Salvadorans had lost their lives. The country of El Salvador is still healing from this war, and fear and mistrust still echo around the country.
Early in the conflict, the Archbishop of San Salvador,Óscar Romero, was murdered. He was assassinated on March 24, 1980 in the middle of Mass at the hands of a military death squad. A few days later, during his funeral many others were killed as well by gunmen and bombs.
Romero is such a polarizing figure in El Salvador between the Right and the Left, and between Catholics and Evangelicals. As a general rule, I try to stay out of these kinds of politics with what I write on this blog but if you are at all interested in El Salvador, you need to educate yourself about this fascinating man. And whatever you believe about his politics, he said some things that are definitely inspirational for anyone who is seeking to follow Christ and anyone who cares about the poor. Here are a few of his words (translated into English):
“If we are worth anything, it is not because we have more money or more talent, or more human qualities. Insofar as we are worth anything, it is because we are grafted on to Christ’s life, his cross and resurrection. That is a person’s measure.” Archbishop Oscar Romero, March 4, 1979
“We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways.” Archbishop Oscar Romero, December 24, 1979
Beautiful paintings inside.
Romero’s tomb (if you can see it with my horrible photography)
A painting of the Archbishop
An outside view of the Cathedral. The front was painted by Fernando Llort (for more about him see my previous post).
Inside the National Palace, home to the President and lawmakers for many years. The Salvadoran President no longer lives here.
Jon hanging out in the National Palace
The architecture and decorating were really interesting. This room was decorated in a Baroque style. We also had the opportunity to read copies of many documents dating back to the beginning of El Salvador.