Here are a few stories from our community this week. First: guess what’s worse than working 12 hours a day, six days a week, bent over planting onions? Well – NOT working 12 hours a day planting onions. The ground was too wet for planting all last week, and that meant no paycheck at the end of it. When I have a lean week, I can use my credit card and pay it back later, or dip into my savings. That’s not an option for the folks in our migrant church. If you’re in this country without documents, you do without bank accounts and you don’t have access to credit. All your money is in your wallet. When it’s gone, it’s gone. So, you eat up whatever you’ve got on the shelf, and you cancel the doctor appointment that you won’t be able to pay for.
That’s the second story: one of the men in our community, who is diabetic, was informed that he’s no longer eligible to get services for a low fee at the migrant clinic. I hope that by the time you get this we’ll have this straightened out, but he tells me that if he has to get his insulin at Walmart it will be $100 a month, and he can’t afford it. He’s afraid he will die.
A third story this week: there is a young Mexican man, 16 years old, a relative of one in our community, who is, as far as we know, making the journey across the desert right now. He could not be dissuaded from making the trip. He and his companions walk at night, and sleep during the day. So each night when it gets dark, I pray for them: for safety from snakes, and dehydration, and from getting lost. May they have a safe journey, and find employment, and may God be with them. If it’s in your heart to pray for them, too, please do.
This week I was asked to bring holy water for a four day old baby. He was tiny and perfect, with a full head of black hair. I had never met his Mom before. She took the bottle of holy water, and I explained that I’m a woman priest, undocumented in the church. She shrugged and smiled, and said, “God is God.”
I do believe that if I were able to be a more constant presence, our church would grow. That’s all up to God.
Driving Capo home on Sunday night, I got stopped by the police. It was late, I was tired, and on the dark and empty winding road had made some sloppy turns and my tires went on or over the line. The officer stopped me because that can be a sign of a drunk driver. He asked for my registration, and where we were going. He recognized the address right away, Our guys live on a road with about 20 other little houses and trailers, all migrants, I believe. “How does somebody from Rochester get to meet someone who lives there?” he asked.
Oscar Romero said that the place of the church is with the poor. For me, the incredulity in that officer’s voice was like a signpost: this way! This is where the disdained people are! Here is where the church belongs.
Two years ago this week I was ordained in a beautiful, joyful ceremony at Spiritus Christi, along with Theresa Novak Chabot, and deacons Patti LaRosa, Ann Penick, and CarylJohnson, who have since been ordained priests, as well. Two years ago, I could not have imagined what I am doing today. It has all unfolded so beautifully. God’s hand has been evident all through this journey. God has brought us safe thus far, and God will lead us home. All is absolutely, totally, perfectly well.
Someone asked me today about my plans for the future. “In all honesty,” I answered, “This is my plan: to keep listening for the promptings of the Spirit of God, and to keep on saying Yes.” By the grace of God, may it be so. Amen.
Love and light to all
“Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on…you may have to face the fact that your work will apparently be worthless and even achieve no result at all. As you get used to this idea you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. It is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.”
Fr Bill Shannon,
“How to Become a Christian Even If You Already Are One”
Fr Shannon died Sunday at the Sisters of St Joseph Motherhouse. He will be greatly missed. He is known for writing about Thomas Merton, but from him I also learned about Meister Eckhardt and Simone Weil and Julian of Norwich, and for that I am very grateful.
Someone asked if we are still celebrating Mass at St Joe’s at 11 am on Sunday mornings. YES! Please come and join us, any time.
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620