The San Antonio de Padua Friary in San Salvador, El Salvador, has received the “Colonia Limpia” (clean neighborhood) municipal award in recognition of its responsible management of solid recyclable waste. The friary belongs to the Provincial Custody of Mary, Mother of Mercy in Central America, a member of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation in the USA (OLC).

As part of the ecological and pastoral conversion that our Franciscan fraternity has been gradually implementing, the friars have begun a program this year to separate and recycle solid waste. Their efforts at the San Antonio de Padua Friary have borne fruit and they have been recognized at the municipal level. On Thursday November 26, 2020, the Mayor of San Salvador, Ernesto MUYSHONDT, held a public ceremony to award the “Colonia Limpia” certification to the friars.
In addition to the mayor, the ceremony was attended by other city authorities along with representatives from many city and business organizations, who were there to receive the same award. Those present representing the fraternity included Friars José Isael SARMIENTO SARMIENTO, Ronaldo Francisco CRUZ GONZÁLEZ and Leoncio Obed PIC ASUNCIÓN. Being a candid and welcome presence, the friars were given the opportunity to give witness to the commitment of the Church and our Order, as regards support for this type of initiative. This is an initiative which benefits our common home and helps human development here in the capital city of El Salvador.
The “Colonia Limpia” initiative is a program of the Mayor of San Salvador. It is specifically intended to educate and raise awareness among the families of San Salvador regarding the importance of separating trash, recycling, caring for the environment and keeping the city clean. To ensure the success of the project, several procedures were developed before and during its implementation. Therefore, the municipality’s “Solid Waste Management Department” evaluates the activities carried out in various communities and companies, and maintains close contact with the organizations. At the same time, it offers training on proper waste disposal. If, after the implementation and evaluation phase, an organization shows serious commitment in caring for the environment, the municipality supports its efforts by making weekly deliveries of white garbage bags for the correct separation of recyclable waste (glass, plastic, paper, cardboard and cans) and it starts a home-to-home collection route for recoverable waste.
With this certification, the friary community formally joins the project. The friars believe that ecological conversion starts at home and that every little action counts. They also believe that the challenges posed by the current socio-environmental crisis require everyone to join forces. All of the members of the community are encouraged to work together. Thus, the friars are proud to work side by side with the municipality and to be part of this type of initiative. At the same time, this award invites everyone to be creative and committed as they continue their journey on the path of ecological conversion. Peace and All Good!