Today, surging violence, government corruption, lack of jobs and a growing environmental crisis are forcing people to flee their country. Striving to help more people in their struggle, COFOA is building power by bringing organizing to other parts of the country. Collaboration with Catholic Relief Services opened opportunities in St. Rose of Lima Parish which serves more than 100,000 people in Ciudad de Arce in the La Libertad Department. After a few months of training, Fr. Jose Leon and leaders are preparing for their first action with the mayor to demand funds needed for public improvements. Local streets are in such disrepair that people can’t drive on them nor can goods be delivered have goods delivered to stores. The second issue is the need for a pedestrian bridge over the main highway. Several people have died trying to cross to reach jobs in the maquiladoras.
In San Salvador Diocese, Fr. Octavio Cruz, a colleague of Oscar Romero and director of social pastoral ministry, opened the door for COFOA to work with 180 Catholic parishes. COFOA is working with Fr. Hector Cruz to begin organizing in Our Lady Guadalupe, a parish plagued by gang violence. Training in Santa Anita Parish will begin after Easter.