Bulletin for Sunday, December 18, 2011: 4th Sunday in Advent


Here’s a beautiful bit of Advent light! This Sunday we celebrated our first genuine, bona fide bilingual Mass, combining our English- and Spanish-speaking communities. The church that meets in the dining room at St Joe’s was joined by one of the men from our migrant community, who had a wonderful time, as did we all. After Mass we had breakfast, cooked by Linda Condon, and sat around talking until we were joined by Catie and Jared, our volunteer English teachers.

My daughter-in-law, Catie, and Jared who is a med student at the U of R, hadn’t had a chance to meet beforehand, so the three of them were strangers to each other. I was actually a bit worried as I left the three of them, (I work at St John’s Home on Sunday afternoons) and wondered if they would find enough to do. “Well, this is awkward!” I heard one of them say as I left. At the service at St John’s when we were taking prayer requests, I asked everybody to pray for the three people who hadn’t met before and who were stuck in a room together to work on English for two hours! But when it was time to get them, as I walked in the door I could hear voices, and found the three of them deep in their lesson, having had what sounded like a very enjoyable teaching and learning time. I was so proud of all of them for moving through the awkwardness and into something good. Learning is a wonderful thing!!!

After that we had some great community time back at my house, with folks from St Joe’s joining us for supper. I think this is going to be a wonderful way to spend winter Sundays!

The hardest part of the day, though, was facing the reality of the new living situation our friends are in. The house where they are staying for the winter is cramped and really pretty horrible. Not a fit place for humans to live – any humans – but so awfully much worse when it’s the home of friends, people I’ve grown to love. It’s dry and it will be warm, but that’s about all that can be said in its favor. It made me think of some of the terrible poverty I’ve seen in El Salvador…. It was just like that, only with snow. It made me angry.

I am dreaming of a house… a Catholic Worker house out in the country, where we could provide a safe, clean, loving, stable living situation. Anybody got a house to donate?

If your Advent giving extends to this community, here are some needs: a gallon of good, mildew-resistant paint, white or off-white, two gallons of heavy-duty wall paint, Cleaning supplies. ESL materials (check out our wishlist on Amazon.com under St Romero’s Church). Gas money. A better place to live! One of the men needs glasses. We can always use cookies or other food for get-togethers. There are things we could do with art supplies. A throw rug or two would be welcome. Big needs and small.

There is a wonderful booklet called “Engaging the Word,” a series of sermons on migrant spirituality, complete with suggested questions for group discussion. If we were to have a study group this winter, we could read one sermon each week and talk about it. Reading them has helped me to better appreciate some things like the courage, strength and resiliency of our friends. Please let me know if you might be interested in that, and when you might be available if we were to form such a group.  The sermons are available in Spanish, too. What might we do with this? We’ve got about a dozen of the books.

Our friend Chris Phillips has asked for prayers for his Mom, Barb, as she nears the end of her life. Please pray for Barb and for everyone who loves her.

Blessings and love to all,

Here’s something to share, a page from my journal last spring:

The world says, “How much money do you have in the bank?”
And God says, “Honey, I am your banker.”

The world says, “How many people are coming to church?”
And God says, “I am here with you.”

The world says, “Keep your shoes on!”
And God says, “Sweetheart, please do as I ask,”

The world says, “Where are you going?”
And God says, “Honey, just go with me.”

The world says, “Do something important!”
And God says, “Come waste time with me.”

The world says, “Make a difference.”
And God says, “Just be, and be in me.”
And God says, All is well
All is well
All is well

Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620