When we arrived for the migrant Mass last night- our special Mass with Pastor Ruth Rodriguez de Orantes of Shekina church in Santa Ana, El Salvador - it appeared that no one was there. It was totally dark already at 7:30 and there weren't any cars. I went in the house and there were a couple of guys cooking their dinner, but they were guys I didn't know very well, and they didn't know where the others were. It all felt pretty bleak, but we started setting up. As I removed items from the car I prayed, Lord let this night be whatever you want it to be. Pretty soon Librada arrived with her husband and baby. Then the guys from the house came out with the lamps from their rooms and we found a way to make light for the Mass. Soon everyone else arrived, including people we had not seen in a while. In the end, there were eighteen of us, if you count the dog ...and as Ruth said, on the feast of St. Francis, you count the dog.
We stood in a big circle around the altar (a crate held up by four buckets) and between the camping light I had brought and the guys' lights from their rooms, and the industrial light I put on the side of the house, we could all see pretty well. It was really church! We had a baby with us and another baby in utero, and even a Chihuahua. Michael joined us from the city and Alex, a new worker at St. Joe's. Ruth told everyone that her church prays for them. There were people who had never been there before (one man seemed a little bewildered by it all, but happily joined in the spirit of community). I preached about St. Francis and his love of nature and how he thanked God for everything. Life is hard, I told them, but it is also wonderful. Afterwards we took lots of pictures and ate cookies, and finally Ruth, Alex, Michael and I drove away in the dark.
A night like that is something you carry inside you as a light in the darkness of difficult days. Thank you Lord for this beautiful community.
This past Saturday, Rosalie Muschal-Reinhart and I went to Max Pies in Batavia and ordered a full size bed. Then we went to Target and bought sheets and bed bug proof mattress covers, pillows and coverlets. Our young couple will receive all this on Tuesday. They send their thanks to everyone who made this possible for them. I don't even know everyone who contributed, because Rosalie organized it all. Many thanks to all of you.
Thanks again to Anne Haydanek who is typing this for me. I am putting in this thank you in spite of her objections!
Come and join us Sunday at 11:00 AM at St. Joe's. We would love to see you. Bask in the glory of the fall. Those colors are amazing!
Love to all,
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