“I went there with a group of our people last July and we’re going there again, I think, in February,” Jones said. “We work with an organization there called Cristosal, and they work with communities that have problems getting support from the government. It’s both an economic and human rights approach to developing the human potential of the people in these villages. The last time we took about eight (people) and this time I expect to take about the same number.”
While helping those in need is a part of Jones’ calling, that last trip to El Salvador also provided him with a memorable moment he never saw coming.
“We went to the church where (Bishop) Oscar Romero was assassinated while saying Mass,” said Jones. He stood at the altar where Romero was assassinated. “Someone asked me, ‘Why do you think, when he saw that guy with the rifle come in, why didn’t he run away?’ And I said, ‘I can’t speak for him but for me, when I’m doing Mass, it’s like it’s not me.’ Romero must’ve been in a place where he didn’t rely on his own personal courage. He must’ve been relying on the courage of Jesus, and I get that.”
Jones said he has gotten to know the city of Newburyport well, and from a different perspective than most.
“Newburyport is a fascinating place,” Jones said. “The people in my flock are really generous and they are really interested in trying new things. There are just some of the greatest imaginations among them. To the visitors who come in from out of town, Newburyport seems like it’s a great place to visit.
“But I think that it’s also a great place to live because it’s got all this economic diversity. It’s got jobs, it’s got people in need and it’s got generous people who give. It’s not your typical type of suburb and that makes it a terrific place to work in a ministry.”