El Salvador: National Caritas staff leader, Daisy Rodríguez, and Vicar of Pastoral Social Ministries, Fr. Octavio Cruz, invited COFOA leaders to share their experience in organizing with leaders from ten vicariates in the Archdiocese of San Salvador. Motivated by the shift to the political right in El Salvador, Church leaders are seeking more effective ways to put Catholic Social teaching into action and meet the needs of their people.
Fr. Santos Martinez who was inspired by the message of the Faith in Action’s (formerly PICO Network) recent Leadership Summit in Washington DC shared his experience of how COFOA is improving the quality of life for members of his parish in Zacetucoluca.
Alberto Velazquez, COFOA Director, shared his power analysis drawn from results of the recent election of local mayors and national deputies. The March election of more right-wing mayors and deputies makes church-supported legislation to protect the environment and water more difficult. Both right-wing and left-wing parties are corrupt and have failed to address issues of violence and the economic needs of ordinary people. COFOA has been developing leaders to engage and mobilize congregation and community members to vote and hold politicians accountable for action on to critical issues. Due to the presidential election in 2018 and declining voter turnout, church leaders are seeking ways to meet the needs of their people without exasperating political polarization.
Representatives from the Vicariates of Monseñor Romero, Santo Tomas, Candelaria, Juan Pablo II, Luis Chávez and González, Santa Lucia, Belloso and San Juan Bautista were present. They committed to contact clergy from the more than 100 parishes in the San Salvador. If they decide to partner with COFOA, this collective effort across five of the eleven departments in El Salvador could impact more than half of the elected deputies in the National Assembly, making it possible to address issues of environment, violence and investment
Comunidades de Fe Organizadas para la Accion (COFOA) is Faith in Action’s organization in El Salvador where leaders are successfully organizing to secure win investment in roads, bridges, clinics and other infrastructure; reduce violence; create job opportunities for youth; enact fight for national water laws; and revitalize democracy.