Peter Altman

Year Joined MKLM: 2013
Country: El Salvador
City: Zaragoza
Focus: Pastoral Ministry, Education, Peace and Justice
Ministry: Casa de la Misericordia
GOAL: To provide pastoral accompaniment and opportunities for enrichment to refugees and migrants who are housed in the shelter.

Personal Data:

Peter is originally from Bellerose Village, NY. He has a BA in Classics and Anthropology from Pomona College and a Master’s in Theology from St. John’s University. Peter most recently served as the Executive Director of Good Shepherd Volunteers, an organization that works with women and children affected by poverty, violence, and neglect. Previously, he taught history and theology at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School where he met his wife, Melissa. Peter and Melissa live in El Salvador with their two young children, Elijah and Evangelina.


Peter works in the small city of Zacatecoluca at a shelter for refugees and migrants that was recently opened by the Catholic Church in El Salvador. Most of the residents at the shelter are families who have been deported from the United States and can’t return to their home villages in El Salvador because they have received death threats from gangs. The shelter provides temporary housing while a plan is developed for asylum or relocation.

Peter offers educational classes, activities, and opportunities for recreation for the children. The children, many of whom have suffered trauma, are unable to attend school and are confined to the shelter. Peter’s ministry attempts to bring healing to the children by offering them enriching and enjoyable activities to occupy their time. In a similar way, Peter looks for ways to engage and accompany the adults while giving them an opportunity to share their stories while they wait for the next chapter of their lives to begin.