“We are looking for direct communication with God. Each one of us has feelings and the desire to express ourselves. The Walk makes us feel free. We all live with different problems but we ask God to guide us, to walk with us.” – Guatemala Solidarity Walk participant
The walk was initiated at the Sister Parish Center and passed through a number of parks in the area. This year, participants were very fortunate and the walk was accompanied by a talented musician and more people from nearby communities. Scholarship students, some of this year’s South-to-North delegates, and women’s group members came into the city to join the walk. At each of the walk’s four stations, participants were given the opportunity to reflect on a reading, a song, our 25th anniversary, and their sister community. Many spoke of the evidence of God in their lives. Below is a revealing reflection of an early memory of how delegations traveled to and from Las Margaritas II:
“At that time there were no roads. You had to cross the river in a boat. That is something that [the St Francis of Assisi delegates] can attest to. Every time they visited us they had to cross the river. Sometimes there are strong currents but thank God nothing ever happened to our brothers and sisters when crossing. We haven’t had many opportunities to receive a lot of foreigners but thank God we have had the opportunity to receive our brothers and sisters [from Raleigh]. To date, we continue our relationship with them.”
The beauty of the relationships established through Sister Parish is demonstrated in shared experiences, such as the above mentioned. The annual Solidarity Walk serves not only to demonstrate the importance of these experiences to members, but also to spread a message of peace and justice to the wider community. As expressed by participants:
“[We] have had a sistering relationship for 18 years. I haven’t participated in a sister parish walk until today. I am very happy and satisfied. To the youth here, I want to say that this is a great experience you can take with you. We all have rights – the right to demand what is ours. This is not a new struggle – from the 1980s up to today we have struggled. I am glad that we are sharing this – that this struggle will continue and we will not falter. One day, everything will be illuminated. We don’t know when, but we know our God sets things right.”
“This is my first Walk. It was really nice to share this with you. Through songs and prayer we express ourselves and we thank God. We want peace and we have to send that message to our children so that they grow up seeing how to live, seeing that we can’t live with violence.”
Thank you to all who have supported Sister Parish Solidarity Walks this year. If you are unable to participate in a Solidarity Walk or other 25th Anniversary events, there is still time to donate on behalf of the Guatemala Solidarity Walk.