Curriculum Connections for High School Teachers and Students
months Links for Learners will support high school
Christian lifestyleslove of neighbor;
Scriptures; teachings of Vatican II
Sciencegeology; seismology; geophysics
Links for Discussion Group Leaders and Participants
for connections for use in programs outside the classroom,
Parish sacramental preparation programs and
CCD classes; young adult discussion programs; seasonal discussion
groups; RCIA programs.
Parents will also find this material useful
in initiating discussion around the dinner table, in home
study, at family activities.
Basic Terms in This Months Article
for the key words and terms below as you read the article.
Definitions or explanations can be researched from the article
itself or from the resource materials cited throughout the
Links for Learners. You can also find a list of terms on the
glossary page of AmericanCatholicYouth.org.
Infant mortality rate
Faith and community
Kingdom of God
Christian Response to Human Suffering
Impact of Natural Disasters
The powerful earthquakes
that struck El Salvador in the beginning months of 2001 wreaked
havoc on the country and its inhabitants. Thousands are dead
or still missing. Six thousand more recover from injuries.
Over a million remain homeless. Countless Salvadorans try
to go on without family and friends.
many of us it's difficult to comprehend the scope of the devastation
in El Salvador. Think about what impact any natural disaster
may have on our own lives. A major earthquake or a tornado
can obliterate the civil and economic infrastructure we take
or air conditioning
and fire protection
Talk about what else you can add to the list. On the lighter
side, we'd have no MTV, no video games, no telephones. More
seriously, perhaps a loss of friends or family, many nights
with nowhere to sleep, maybe the destruction of entire neighborhoods.
Even a moderate disruption could close schools for a time.
By any definition, it would be a life-altering event.
this month's article tells us, the earthquakes in El Salvador
struck a country with resources already strained by poverty,
by prior earthquakes, by a 12-year civil war, and by 1998's
Hurricane Mitch. Reconstruction could easily take several
to ten or more years. Recovery of this magnitude is simply
not possible without outside aid.
Offer International Aid?
Don't we have enough poor in our own country? Isn't it hypocritical
to send money and supplies to El Salvador when the homeless
stand on our own street corners asking for money and shelter?
And yes, in crisis the Salvadorans traditionally have turned
to their own faith, to family and neighbors, for the strength
of Jesus challenge us, however. "I was hungry and you gave
me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink… naked and you
clothed me...." Jesus imposes no boundaries, no limitations.
When you help a person in need, he says, you help me.
Christian response to those in need is rooted in Jesus and
reinforced by Church teaching. The leaders of the Church published
Mystery of the Church," one of the documents resulting
from the historic Second Vatican Council. "… the Church encompasses
with love all who are afflicted with human suffering and in
the poor and afflicted sees the image of its poor and suffering
Founder" (Section 8, paragraph 3). And in echoing the words
of Jesus, the document further says, "It follows that though
there are many nations there is but one people of God, which
takes its citizens from every race, making them citizens of
a kingdom which is of a heavenly rather than of an earthly
nature" (Section 10, paragraph 2). Solidarity and globalization
are but an offshoot of our common citizenship in God's kingdom.
organizations exist to carry out humanitarian and Christian
Relief Services (CRS) provides a strong presence in situations
like the El Salvador earthquakes. CRS is active in 80 countries,
working to "honor the dignity of the human person." According
to CRS, a worker's average monthly income in El Salvador is
a mere US$84, far below the poverty line. The programs conducted
by CRS are aimed at providing physical and economic aid to
those in need. Their Web
site offers a virtual tour of the earthquake damage in
and government relief agencies abound as well. We are certainly
familiar with the American
Red Cross, always ready to provide shelter after a "quiet
disaster" like a house fire or to feed relief workers cleaning
up after a hurricane. Did you know that every year the Red
Cross gathers over half of America's blood supply? The Red
Cross has 24,000 volunteers serving in a variety of capacities.
You can volunteer through your own local chapter.
United States Government sponsors the Agency
for International Development. Click on "Disaster Assistance"
to see a USAID update on El Salvador covering United States
government assistance, multilateral organization responses,
present dangers and assessments and a map of the Salvadoran
Personal Response to the Suffering of Others
We ask ourselves, "Is there a personal role for us
in Christian relief efforts?" Go to the Catholic
Relief Services site for the answer. Click on "How to
Help." CRS offers a number of programs on an individual, school
or parish level.
Would you simply want to make a cash contribution to CRS?
You can do this online or by mail.
school or parish can hold a sale for handcrafted products
offered through "Work of Human Hands," a CRS program that
brings artisan crafts directly to your organization.
your school or parish lost a beloved minister or fellow
student? CRS accepts memorial funds in someone's memory.
can find guidance at CRS for writing letters to your government
leaders to support human rights around the world and in
our own country.
and youth ministers can get first-hand experiences in relief
work by traveling to countries in need. These programs promote
mutual understanding, solidarity and spiritual enrichment.
Science of Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters
scientific data on the recent El Salvador quakes, see the
Geological Survey. The USGS provides details of recent
earthquakes, real-time maps, research information and links
to related sites such as television network news reports
on natural disasters. The site also offers graphics to illustrate
the technical data. Since 1935 scientists have used the
Scale to chart seismic waves and compare the magnitudes
of earthquakes. If you have a career interest in geology,
you can apply online for an internship
with the USGS.
1998 the Public Broadcasting System aired a documentary
on natural disasters entitled "Savage
Earth." The program graphically illustrates the power
of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.
of California at Santa Barbara presents earth science
data that includes historical narrative accounts of earthquakes
written by authors such as Mark Twain, Jack London, John
Muir and Charles Darwin.
accessing some of these Internet sources for further reference.
Be aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for
downloading articles contained within the sites archives.
Up Foundation – Washington, D.C.-based organization
One’s online resource
National Conference of
New American Bible
of Vatican II