As we were making our way out to the car after Mass this past Thursday night at the Spanish-speaking iteration of our church, everyone joining us with flashlights and gifts of acorn squash and a huge cabbage, the little boy in our community said, “I wish it could be every Monday and every Thursday.” “What?” I asked. “This,” he said. This moment, this time of community. It was probably the best compliment our little church ever received.
Of course, I suppose anyone might feel that way if Peter Veitch was their religious ed teacher! Peter, who is an art teacher in the city schools, has agreed to take on the responsibility of religious instruction. The two of them had just spent a happy hour talking about St Francis and the Lord’s Prayer. Sure feels like church, now that we’ve got religious ed!
What else might we do, in time, I wonder? How about help with literacy, or English? This past weekend I visited the Rural and Migrant Ministries house called “Liturgia” in Lyons with a group of Presbyterians. It’s a place for learning and advocacy, as well as a base for RMM folks. I wonder if we could do something like that, west of the city. Maybe a church! – but I suspect Masses will continue to need to be held in people’s homes. Maybe in partnership with RMM... maybe a storefront, or a house. How can we bring abundant life, hope, vision, joy where there is hiding and fear and long hard hours of work? Chris Phillips called what we’re doing “bringing friendship in a friendless world.” How can we do that, more?
On Saturday we also went to visit a group of H-2A workers in Sodus. H-2A means the workers are here legally, on a work visa, and they get to go home for the winter (this Friday!). No worries about la migra, no years of separation from their families. I wish that was possible for everyone. Best moment of the day: one of the men from Presbytery, a minister who has a 9 year old and a 6 year old himself, asked, “Who’s looking forward to seeing their kids?” and every man there raised his hand.
Oh, life, liberty, home, family, work, education for all... all creation is groaning with it. May it be so, oh, may it be so.
One more happy story. The two men we liberated from detention share a house with a man who is already in the system, and has been wearing the gps ankle bracelet for some time. St. Romero’s is paying for a phone line in the house so the other men can use the phone reporting system, and today, hurray! the third man got his ankle bracelet taken off! One more captive with a bit more freedom. Thanks to those whose generosity makes this possible!
Please join us on Thursday at 4 pm to hear Gustavo Monzone talk about his Catholic Worker house in Mexico, in the dining room at St Joe’s. Also this week: panel on immigration at ROCLA, 7 pm Wednesday at Downtown United Presbyterian on Fitzhugh St, and another such on Friday at 6 at Friends Meetinghouse on Scio Street. Also the documentary, “After I Pick the Fruit” at St John Fisher, 6 pm Thursday. Wow, what a week!
Blessings and love to all,
“There are no borders on capital as it swirls around the world but people are branded "illegal" fleeing the destruction it wreaks.”
- Catholic Worker Ciaorn O'Reilly, speaking on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral at Occupy London
Come join us, any Sunday you like!
Oscar Romero Church
A 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