A light sparkling in the Honduran shadows
Ismael Moreno, SJ
(Father Melo) - Honduras, Province of Central America
[From “Jesuits 2022 - The Society of Jesus in the world”]
The Jesuit Social Apostolate for a new Honduras.
“I’ve never been inside a radio studio but when I listen to you, it’s like I’m hearing my own ideas: you’re saying exactly what I want for my country, for my people. Then, I feel like I should be supporting a radio station which is so courageous, shows such solidarity, and inspires feelings of happiness, trust and a desire to keep battling on. I want the radio to keep growing, keep bringing us social and political commentary, entertainment and happiness, and keep on sharing its love with people.” (Quote from a listener)
ERIC/Radio Progreso is our social apostolate here in Honduras, a part of the Province of Central America. Our approach is based on two major principles: firstly, faith in the liberating strength of the poor, and secondly, in the justice that springs from faith in Christ who makes all things new, no matter how seemingly sad or dark.
Radio Progreso was founded in 1956. The Society
of Jesus acquired the rights to it in 1970 in order to support adult literacy
via radio schools, and to promote liberation via evangelisation and education.
We also accompany ecclesial base communities (comunidades de base) and social and popular organisations in their
daily hardships and struggles.
Meanwhile, ERIC, Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (The Reflection, Research and Communication Team), was established in 1980 after the onset of the policy of “national security,” in Honduras. This led to the death and disappearance of hundreds of people who had articulated critical ideas opposed to official policies. Forty-one years later, ERIC is still going strong as “a witness.” In 2014, both works merged to form a single apostolic platform for communication and social service. The purpose was to render our work for truth and justice more efficient in Honduras, a society trapped in devastating cycles of inequality, violence, militarisation, drug trafficking, environmental damage, corruption and impunity. One consequence of all this is the notorious migrant caravans who flee Honduras on unpredictable, dangerous journeys towards the United States.
ERIC/Radio Progreso is a social apostolate
which, from a stance of faith, has a place in civil society. Our work is based
on social analysis, political education and the transformation of culture. Our
priority is helping young people to become a generation committed to faith,
justice, ethics and peace. A society where all things and all of life may be
made new will never develop unless it is solidly founded upon the creative
energy of our youth.
ERIC/Radio Progreso is committed, as a social apostolate work of the Society of Jesus, alongside other national and international Church, popular and social organisations, to reversing the causes and momentum of death in Honduras. We do so as part of a Church that listens and searches for answers to the cry of the people. Thus, by recovering her prophetic dimension, the Church is able to bear greater witness to Jesus and his Kingdom, so that the glory of God may shine forth in Honduras, centred on the small hopes and struggles of impoverished women, men, young people and children. They are the most deprived social groups here, and the Jesuits of Honduras have opted through this work to commit to them.
Our central office is in the city of El
Progreso, in the Valley of Sula on the north Honduran coast. But we have a
nationwide presence, along with other partner organisations regionally and
across Central America. Right now, by drawing on our strength in Christ, and
together with other groups, we are trying to help in the building of a social,
political, cultural and spiritual alternative to the current, elitist, corrupt
and exclusionary model of society, which causes inequality and violence.
We aim to fulfil this objective by encouraging a new generation to commit to ethics and politics, and also through partnership with other sectors striving to protect our Common Home. This always involves working to build and integrate a culture of peace and human rights into society, including via social media platforms and networks.
We carry out our apostolate with the support of local communities and the solidarity of those Churches and co-operative organisations that have committed to the process of transforming our communities. We are careful never to accept donations from any individuals or businesses singled out by the law for violations of human or environmental rights.
Being devoted to defending the rights of the
excluded, we appropriate as our own the enlightened words of Archbishop Romero,
the saint and prophet of our time and social context: “A people that is not
organised is a crowd and can be toyed with, but a people that is organised and
stands up for its values, for justice, is a people that makes itself respected”
(Homily, 2 March 1980).
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