This weekend we will celebrate our first anniversary with a pot-luck lunch following the 11 am Mass on Sunday. I hope you can come… bring a dish to pass if you like but don’t let that stop you from coming. We would love to see you.
I am very sorry to tell you that besides having something to celebrate this week, we have something to mourn.
Last Thursday night at Iglesia de San Romero, our Mass with migrant farm workers west of the city, we learned that one of our number, Santiago, had been taken by immigration – at four in the morning. Imagine being awakened at 4 am and taken to a detention center. We prayed for him at Mass, and Librada and I tried to see him (without luck) on Saturday.
Today we received the sad news that not only Santiago, but almost the entire community, have been taken. Leonardo, Pedro, Marconi and others, including the mother of young Rafael, (who is, I believe, in the care of the one adult member of the community who was not detained).
These are hard-working men and women, who have left their homes and families because they had no other way to support them, came at great risk to this country to work long, hard hours, live in constant fear of deportation --- they come to this place that we so proudly believe to be the land of the free, and get taken from their homes at night, separated from their children ----- my friends, this is not justice. It is not justice that there is such poverty in Mexico and Central America that people are driven to leave their loved ones – often for years, decades even– poverty that is abetted by the policies of the United States, such as NAFTA andCAFTA. It is not justice that people die in the desert, trying to get here. It is not justice that once here, they are doing work that people who are born here will not do – it is too hard, there is no status – work that we need done – and yet they are treated so badly, living fifteen people in one small house with one bathroom – living in fear – and finally, hounded down and put in detention – which is basically, jail. In fact, the women probably are in jail, as the detention center houses only men.
This is not the bulletin I wanted to write this week. I meant to write about the past year and the things we have done so far. Like our friends, I am not doing what I wanted to be doing right now. I think of them – bored, lonely, scared, sad, muscles sore from sudden disuse – their lives suddenly turned upside down. Pray for them, please.
And pray for our little church, in both its incarnations: the little church that prays in English on Sundays, and the little church that prays in Spanish on Thursdays. God has walked with us and cared for us in beautiful ways this year. I know that God is close, now, and is with our friends as they wait to see what the future holds.
Whatever the future holds, God will be there.
Blessings and love to all,
Two upcoming events:
On October 6, Paul Finkelman will speak on Constitutional rights and immigration, first at St John Fisher at 3 pm, later at MCC at 7:30 pm.
On Wednesday, October 12, Fr Anthony Ruff will speak at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School at 7 pm, on the upcoming changes to the Roman Missal: “What do we do NOW?”
Hope to see you on Sunday -
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