For the past four years, young people have assisted our Sister Flor de Maria Buruca, OP in her faith-based camp for children in the small village of Sol Naciente, El Salvador. Nine students and four employees from Molloy College in Rockville Centre and Dominican College in Blauvelt visited there with Sister Flor, January 2-11, 2017.

Molloy students included: Lucia Agosti, Jessica Holdworth, Justin Reyes, Thomas Malinowski, and Elizabeth Meittinis, who is also involved with the Dominican Young Adult Movement. A junior now, majoring in childhood and special education, Elizabeth said, “When I first heard about the El Salvador Mission trip my freshman year, I knew I wanted to apply.” She was very interested in expanding her horizons by serving those who live differently than she does, and saw the Dominican ministry as a great way to do that.

The Molloy contingent volunteered with 45 camp kids, ages 3 to 12. The camp theme was St. Catherine of Siena’s famous quote, “Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire!” At camp, the children learned about St. Catherine of Siena and also enjoyed music, arts and crafts, and sports, as well as a community service project. In addition to their work at camp, Molloy students explored other areas of the country including the town where Blessed Oscar Romero ministered and was murdered in 1980. They also celebrated the Feast of the Three Kings, joining a street procession led by children.

“This year, the children helped to beautify the garden outside the chapel where the camp took place,” said Sister Diane Capuano. “They gathered materials from around the neighborhood like plastic bottles and rocks and used these to create fences and enclosures for the plants. What an example for us in the U.S. who tend to waste materials.”

The camp season closed with a beautiful liturgy during which four children were baptized and four received First Communion. At the end of the Mass, students and mentors received a Dominican Cross and a beautiful plate with St. Catherine painted on it — all powerful signs of Dominican charism.