The people organized a Peace March, “and we marched with them, singing songs of hope and freedom and calling for Paz [Peace] and praying that people will disarm and get rid of the hate and control and begin to cooperate and work together for the betterment of all.” Although the trip wasn’t what they expected, it was indeed successful. They helped the people draw from the Peace Plan that has been developing over the past 30 years, which provides the tools to work for peace amidst violence. The Parks feel they were there to “bring the Franciscan spirituality of living the gospel simply, joyfully, courageously, and always in transformation—and to receive it, over and over.”
Experiencing the reality of the poor and the dilemma of the people of El Salvador helped MJ and Jerry gain a “better grasp” of the situation that prompts parents to send beloved children alone on a dangerous journey to the borders of the United States. It is beyond what we in North American can imagine.
Sister Mary Zirbes, who sponsored the OWM application, has known the Parks for over 30 years and has followed their work. She believes that the work of Little Friends for Peace has the potential for peacemaking among gang members and the rest of the community.