Here’s a dream as we enter the new year:
What if we had a house in the country – a permanent house, a clean house, big enough for a number of people, where people who need to be here all year ‘round (like our friends in the Alternatives to Detention Program) can live. No more moving constantly, no more degrading living conditions. It could be the place where we celebrate the Mass once a week, and a center for education, as well.
One of the things I have learned in the past year is that there is no point in buying or renting a church. No one will come. La migra has been known to target churches. We need to keep on being small, meeting in living rooms and driveways, building community wherever we can. Same goes for education.
So here’s the dream: what if we did guerilla education? You know how guerilla warfare works. It’s mobile, it’s home-made, it goes where it needs to go, without much equipment or overhead. Suppose we did that with education. Suppose that someone with the time and energy to offer an ESL class were to come to a particular house once a week, where there were people who wanted to learn. What if we had a number of people doing that, bringing whatever they had to offer as teachers to whomever wanted to learn. What if it went both ways? What if folks from the Mexican community offered their skills, as well? Do you know how to kill and pluck a chicken? Would you like to learn some Spanish? We all have things to teach, and things to learn. Maybe it’s not just about teaching and learning: maybe it’s about empowerment. Maybe it’s about new awareness for all of us.
And more: maybe this house could also be a center for advocacy. Maybe there are others who need accompaniment on their journey through the court system. Maybe we could have a library there, with books in Spanish on lots of topics. Or more day-to-day things: maybe we could have a used clothing store, where people could get clothes cheap. (Do you know what farm workers earn? It would break your heart).
Right now, all this is, is a dream. But imagine if several churches were to get together and make it come true. There would be opportunities for involvement, galore. We could have groups at the churches working on their Spanish and on awareness. (how about a study group reading Paolo Friere? Or studying liberation theology?) This could be a mission project for several churches, working together. This weekend I’m going to talk with some Presbyterian churches about being part of this dream… please pray that whatever God is dreaming, will be.
One thing we need is a house. Somewhere in the area between Batavia and Brockport, preferably off the main thoroughfares, preferably with a barn or garage big enough for several cars. Somebody, somewhere, has a house to donate.
So that’s the dream. It will change as it takes shape and becomes reality, just as the idea of the Migrant Mass morphed as the summer went on. If it’s the dream of God, if the call for this is coming from the Holy Spirit, it will be.
Join us for 11 am bilingual Mass any Sunday. We’re having a wonderful time.
Blessings and love to all,
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
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