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The Franciscan Province, “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” of Central America, Panama and the Foundation of “La Santa Cruz” in Haiti, has the JPIC Commission in the Province, which consists of a friar appointed for animation and coordination in each region of the actions of JPIC, together with the Franciscan Family. The Province has an evangelization project that includes four points for JPIC animation. They are, firstly, JPIC in initial and ongoing formation (formation program), secondly, JPIC in each evangelization settings (parish, rectory), thirdly, JPIC in the schools of the Province, and fourthly, JPIC office in each country. Even if there are JPIC teams of the Franciscan Family in some states of Central America, it’s essential to have an office in each state.

In the JPIC Office in El Salvador, three friars are serving and encouraging, Br. Anselmo Maliaño, Br. Domingo Solís and Br. Rene Flores, and a lay person who is a facilitator-secretary, Carmen Martínez. It is the first office that was established in the Province (in 1996) with the support of the same region, the Province and the Misión Central.

Through this structure of animation six objectives are developed: the formation on the basis of the spirituality of JPIC; constitution of JPIC teams in parishes, schools, fraternities; recreate a network of JPIC teams in the country; coordinate and act with civil organizations; encourage JPIC in the Franciscan Family; inform and train about JPIC through social networks. We seek to interact with the spirituality of JPIC in all these projects and lines of action.

Indeed, it is one of the smallest countries in Central America (around 20,000 square kilometers, with more or less 7 million inhabitants), but marked by a history of conflict, pain and wounds that have not yet been healed and reconciled yet. The social reality is marked by problems such as insecurity, violence, corruption in the public sector, extreme poverty, massive migrations and other series of situations that alarm.

This year, the JPIC Office, in conjunction with the Franciscan Family, has taken some crucial steps. One of them is the Franciscan Formation School, “Fr. Cosme Spessotto” with 45 students.  JPIC of the Franciscan Family of each zone has responded with several brothers and sisters to the convocation. Few congregations are not committing themselves to this Franciscan spirituality and action. However, the response as a family to JPIC is broader, and the laity is responding as disciples of Jesus, like Francis of Assisi.

We evaluated our work with the help of SWOT diagnosis. Especially as we addressed the Encyclical Laudato Si’, we realize that it is urgent to take on some challenges seriously and foster an authentic and fruitful dialogue that would lead us to create more communion and fraternity in mission. There are important issues that we are facing and being called to answer such as the deterioration of the quality of life especially of the poorest, social inequalities that is very evident in this country, migration for the same social insecurity (gangs and organized crime), degradation of the environment for lack of laws and minimum protection. We need to avoid falling into waste and consumerism, the two evils that are contaminating us. That is why new lifestyles are required, which means being more sober, saving energy and water, recycling what we use, avoiding the use of plastics, using public transport and being more supportive of our brothers and migrant sisters.

Br. Anselmo Maliaño, OFM
JPIC Animator
El Salvador