Last Thursday night, Caroline Kristoffersen, Joe Lavoie and I drove out to a little town west of the city. We stopped on the way to pick up Librada Paz, then went on out to a little house in the middle of some enormous fields, where a group of people live who work all day on the farms. Folks in the house were finishing supper, so we had a little time to stand around, waiting. A man named Leonardo cleared off a crate for us to use as an altar, and Caroline and I got it set up. Leonardo showed us the beautiful kitchen garden that the people who live there had planted, with peppers, tomatoes and other things all up and growing strong. There was a toy lion tied to a stick in the middle for a scarecrow. It was hanging limply on the ground, and Leonardo took it down, laughing that the scarecrow was scared. (I only know he said that because Librada was translating!)
Pretty soon, the nine or so people who live in the house were done with supper, and a couple more pulled up in a truck. We gathered for Mass. Everybody stood, because there weren't any chairs. The week before we had to cancel because of rain, as there is not enough room in the house for us all. This week, though, the weather was beautiful. We could hear the birds singing in nearby trees while we prayed and sang.
Caroline and Joe passed out worship aids to everybody. Because I knew that it was likely a long time since some folks had been to Mass, I made a guide with the all the responses on it, and Caryl Marchand laminated a set of them so we can use them all summer. Even though it's in Spanish, Caroline and Joe were able to follow it!
A man named Marconi did the first reading, and then I preached the sermon that Mary Wilkins and I had worked on together over breakfast the day before. We are the body of Christ, I said. “¿Cómo seremos el pan los unos por los otros?” How will we be bread for each other? I saw heads nodding. That's always a relief for a preacher, but even more so when preaching in another language.
Last April when I was in El Salvador I looked everywhere for a chalice, and finally found a wooden one with a lid. The lid turns out to be important: it keeps the bugs out. Note to those who might join us in the future: bring bug spray. (and a sweater). At the end, after the final song, everyone claps. It's a beautiful, friendly group of people. After Mass we stand around, talking. We're trying to solve the problem of what to do if it rains. If they had a tarp – one of those camping tarps with poles – they could set it up next to the house for a shelter. It would also serve to keep their shoes dry, because they leave them outside the door. Anybody got an old camping tarp to give away?
This week we're leaving at 7:15, Thursday night. You're welcome to join us. This week I think we'll bring cookies, so we can have a snack together after Mass. And then we'll be on our way back home, getting back about 10 or 10:30. It's a lovely way to spend the evening!
Blessings and love to all, Chava
On Sunday, July 17 at 2 pm, Jeff Wilson will give a concert at Mary Magdalene Church in East Rochester. $10 and sure to be a wonderful time!
Friday, July 22 at 7pm, the Center for Sustainable Living will present a dvd on Thomas Berry at St Joe’s, followed by a talk and discussion led by Tim McGowan. Free – come and join us!
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Church in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620