Among the dusty, garbage-strewn streets of Mejicanos, a working class area of the city of San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador) Fr. Antonio Lopez, Passionist and director of the Passionist students of Central America, carries out his priestly ministry. His parish "St. Francis of Assisi" is situated in an area of 200,000 inhabitants, in a city with a population of almost two million people, where each day 15 persons are killed. Half of these deaths are caused by gang wars that are fought in a climate of hatred within the territory where Fr. Antonio does his ministry.
"In this place, life isn’t worth anything", says Fr. Antonio to the TV cameras of the English language broadcast company Al Jazeera. This interview was included in the documentary "Life in San Salvador" and was dedicated to the activities of spiritual assistance and social recovery of Fr. Antonio in Mejicanos, where "killing a person is like killing a chicken".
Father Toño, as his parishioners call him, although living with threats, works with the members of the gangs to remove them from the spiral of violence, especially the young. It is easy to move from the status of victim to guilty of homicide. They are not only considered delinquents, but victims of a cynical and sick society. Examples are Giovanni, the ex leader of a gang that is presently awaiting the birth of this first child and who is determined to continue along the road of recovery, and Sonia, whose child was assassinated by a gang and who is waiting for justice to be done.
The documentary is posted here so that it can be seen in its entirety on the web site of the Congregation.