Feliz Día de la Madre a todos! Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! Today is Mother’s Day here in El Salvador and it is a big celebration. In fact, it’s such an important holiday that everyone had yesterday and today off school. I had bought some little gifts for the ladies at the Pastoral House. They were little butterflies and flowers made of wood that hold photos or other things with a close pin. They also had some candy with them. I’d set them out the night before for Kathy, Blanca, Idalia, and Cecilia. Aminta is coming tomorrow so she’ll get her present tomorrow.
People have been selling all sorts of things in the stores for Mother’s Day. Lots of chocolates, food, things in guacals (little plastic tubs), coffee cups, etc. The ice cream store had lots of cakes for sale. Many people on the street are selling fake flowers because people often go to the cemetery to put flowers on their mothers’ graves. When we passed the cemetery today I could see all the beautiful flowers that had been placed there.
Mother's Day gifts for the ladies
This afternoon we went to another rosary in Alejandría and we celebrated Mother’s Day there as well. Everything was pretty much set up by the time we got there so we were able to relax a bit. The rosary started at 3:15pm. Since it was Mother’s Day most of the songs and special prayers were about mothers. I found myself singing along to one of the songs that I’d only heard a few times. I loved that the entire rosary was dedicated to the “Madre de Dios” (Mother of God) and Madre Nuestro (Our Mother). About halfway through the rosary it began raining. Since most of us weren’t sitting under a roof we all crammed into the area outside the house that had a roof over it. It was cozy and I liked being so close to everyone.
The homily part of the rosary given by Balmore was especially interesting. It was all about women and mothers. He talked about why people get married. Some people say it’s because there’s no one to iron, wash, or do the cooking. People around me laughed at this. Other times, he said, people are together for convenience or for the kids. But that’s not what a marriage is all about. There should be love. Love is necessary for all families. It is an “alimento” (nourishment) for our lives.
He talked further that we need to remember the love of moms, because their love is unconditional. It is “amor sin preferencia” (love without preference). Our moms love us regardless of our faults. So how do we get closer to our families? We must remember that men and women are equal. He said many times men do not respect the dignity of women. They don’t look at women with love in their eyes but with lust and urges. We must learn from God, and the love of God is in our hearts.
He also talked specifically about children and their mothers. He said often times you’ll see kids in hammocks asking their moms to bring them this or bring them that. At this point there was more laughter from everyone there. But this is not how moms deserve to be treated and kids need to do better. And with that he wrapped up the rosary. Afterwards I told him how much I liked what he said and told him I agreed with him. Additionally, though I didn’t say anything to anyone but Kathy, I found it ironic that a group of young men were sitting outside the house where the rosary was held not listening to the rosary but waiting to get a ride home. A ride home from a group of women.
Cecilia had picked up a special Mother’s Day cake for after the rosary. It was sliced up and handed out to everyone along with plantain chips. After everyone had eaten Cecilia and Blanca passed out Mother’s Day gifts for every mother in the community. It was a plastic strainer with some basic food inside like sugar, rice, etc. When people eventually left the three moms of the Pastoral Team who live in Alejandría were given gifts. Then it was time to leave. We hugged everyone goodbye and headed back toward Berlín. It has been a good Mother’s Day here in El Salvador. I’m glad I had a chance to talk to my mom on Sunday when it was Mother’s Day in the US because she’s the greatest mom ever!!
Mother's Day Cake
The area set up at Blanca's house for the rosary
Picture of the Virgen Mary
A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
– Washington Irving