Bulletin for Sunday, March 25, 2012: 5th Sunday in Lent


This Sunday we will have a special Mass in memory of St Romero of the Americas, Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated on March 24, 1980 in San Salvador. If you are able to join us, please plan on staying for pot luck afterwards, and please bring a dish to pass if you are able. I will make Salvadoran beans because I heard that Monsenor Romero loved them!

For our chalice and paten at that Mass we’ll use the cup and plate I bought in El Mozote last year. El Mozote was the site of a horrific, US-funded massacre in 1981, and we will use them in memory of thecrucified people.

If I know anything at all about our St Romero, it’s that he’d rather we focused on the people he died for, than on him.

Speaking of the people he died for... as all the people of Latin America share in that same suffering of a conquered people, bearing oppression of one sort or another for five centuries... our little migrant church is about to undergo another change, as our friends in Florida will be coming up earlier than anticipated, because of the early spring. They should be here by the end of next week.

In the first stage of our little church, we stood in a parking lot on beautiful summer nights, and celebrated Mass together. Memorably, a raccoon once ran off with five dozen cookies that were intended for our fellowship time after Mass. We grew comfortable together, and my Spanish got better, just in time for stage two: as two of our number were detained just as the group moved to a new house where we could worship inside. During the fall we struggled with fear of others being detained, and began to walk with the two men we were able to bond out. That included driving back and forth to Buffalo every other week. The third stage began around Thanksgiving, as some of our number went off to Florida, and the men who are now in the system stayed here, in a cramped little house too small for Mass. I continued to go out there on Thursday nights for Religious Ed, and our Sunday Mass in the city became bilingual as we tried to combine the two communities.

All of that will be familiar to anyone who reads this bulletin every week, but there is a part of the story you may not know. In December I called my bishop, Andrea Johnson in Baltimore, to talk. Not for orders, but for help in discerning my path, because she is my pastor. A bond was forming between one of the guys and me, and I needed to figure out what to do. Andrea and I talked about the different ways denominations handle relationships between pastors and parishioners. “There are no hard and fast rules,” Andrea said. The main concern was the effect on the community. I remember laughing and telling her, “I may well be calling you in a few weeks and saying it was all my imagination and there was no need for this conversation!” But I’m very happy to say that was not the case. As Santiago says, “Somos locos unos para otros” (We are crazy about each other). –and quite recklessly happy, given the uncertain future. But if there is anything I have learned as pastor of this community, it’s to stay in the moment, and trust God. All is well, as it has ever been well, and shall be well indeed.

So now, yet another transition, as the rest of the community returns. There are many questions and uncertainties, and as ever, your prayers are welcome. May our spring and summer and all the days of this little church be whatever God is dreaming. Our God is, after all, a God of surprises.

Love and light to all

And you will go out joyfully, and be led out in peace; the mountains and the hills before you will break into cries of joy, and all the trees in the countryside will clap their hands.  The cypress will growin place of the thorn bush, the myrtle will replace the briers; and they will stand as a memorial to God, an everlasting sign never to be destroyed.
-       Isaiah 55:12-13

The documentary “After I Pick the Fruit” will be shown at the Sisters of St Joseph Motherhouse on Wednesday, April 11 at 7 pm. Nancy Ghertner of Sodus filmed a number of women farmworkers over ten years. Come see this powerful documentary.

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