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The Franciscan Network for Migrants of the Americas (FNM) held its annual Assembly in San Salvador, El Salvador, from 19 to 26 September.

The members of the Steering, Coordination and Advocacy Committees of the FNM were convened. All the countries where the Network is present were represented, namely Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States.

There was also participation from institutions with which we collaborate in various ways, such as the JPIC-OFM General Office (Rome), the Franciscan Action Network (USA), Franciscans International (Geneva), the Quixote Center (USA) and, virtually, Talentos (Argentina).

The Advocacy Committee and Franciscans International marked the dynamics of the first two days. Through experts, they sensitised and trained those present on the protection of organisations and persons defending the human rights of migrants and applicants for international protection, and on the importance of documentation as a tool for the defence of human rights in the context of migration. In addition, the participants were informed about the projects carried out by the Committee in Latin America in general and in the countries where it is present in particular. Finally, the Asociación Comité de Migrantes Fallecidos y Desaparecidos of El Salvador (COFAMIDE, Association of Families of the Deceased and Disappeared Migrants ) shared some of its experiences during its seventeen years of existence.

In the days that followed, a review was made of the steps taken by the FNM in the five years of its existence. The reality of each of the local teams and the host houses was also examined in order to have an overview of the current situation of the Network. All this made it possible to draw up four general lines of action for the coming year, summarised in the renewal of the structure of the Network, the strengthening of the local teams, the improvement of the quality of communication and the intensification and support of the work of the Advocacy Committee.

To celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday 24 September, the members of the Assembly made a pilgrimage to the Hospital of Divine Providence where Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero was assassinated. Then they  went to his crypt in the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador, where they celebrated the Eucharist. The Franciscan roots that inspire the commitment to migrants and refugees were also discussed.

For the first time since its foundation, the FNM had an in-person meeting. This created an atmosphere of joy, commitment and fraternity in each of the twenty-five participants from the Franciscan family. All this took place in the Franciscan Spirituality Centre of Monte Alvernia, an ecological reserve in the Salvadoran capital.


Br. Daniel Rodríguez Blanco