CAFOD Brentwood were honoured to host Erasmo and Fidel from Puentecitos, for a day as part of their CAFOD tour to supporting Connect2 El Salvador parishes.
Fidel is a farmer who worked to set up a farmer’s cooperative in the community, and Erasmo, a CAFOD partner with the Jesuit Development Service (JDS) who has been working to setup fair trade shops and small business.
Their visit started with Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, Wanstead and a warm welcome from Father Pat Sammon and the opportunity to greet parishioners after Mass. Some apologised for the wet weather but Erasmo said’ in our country rain brings us happiness as we depend on it for our food’.
They enjoyed coffee and biscuits in the presbytery with Father Pat, CAFOD parish volunteer Pat Pugh and parishioners Kate, Margaret and Linda who also work at Our Lady of Lourdes school and were looking forward to telling the children about the parishes special visitors. Tania Dalton from CAFOD’s Latin America Section was kept busy translating and Brentwood Diocesan manager Joanna Jarvis took photos to share with the parish community here and in Puentecitos
They told many stories of how through their work with CAFOD, they have been able to improve the lives of everyone in their community.They showed picturers of how land was transformed from a barren hillside to a lush terraced small holding providing crops for families and for selling at market.
They also proudly introduce their families and shared the programmes they are involved with and their hopes for the future.
On behalf of CAFOD Erasmo and Fidel received a cheque for £30,0000 presented by Pat Pugh on behalf of parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes – Joanna Jarvis said ‘the generosity of the parish is overwhelming and their ongoing support will continue to transform the lives of communities like Puentecitos’.
Before they left Fidel presented the parish with a picture that his daughter Lupita aged 8 had drawn of their community with a big heart ‘for the brothers and sisters overseas’.
Erasmo said ‘thank you for the affection shown in receiving us here and for fulfilling a sense of belonging and helping us to feel animated to continue our work’