Each week when we go out west of the city to celebrate Mass with a group of
migrant farmworkers, we start the Mass at about 8 pm. I had thought that as
the days grew shorter we would start earlier, but I learned that their
workday stays the same even though it’s dark earlier. Folks get home at
6:30 and everyone needs to eat and shower before Mass – fifteen people
living in a house with only one shower – so we’ll keep starting Mass at 8.
These days, we open the door of the house to have light to see by. It’s
okay, we still have a lovely Mass!
There are several men who are there every week, and several other men and
women who are there now and then. One of the men who is always there is
Santiago, a man of about 60. One week I was surprised when he wasn’t there,
and asked why. The others explained that he was working late, planting
onions. About 9 pm he came in, just as the Mass was ending, covered with
dirt and sweat and not having had his supper. When we sing that hymn with
the line, “all who labor without rest,” I think of Santiago.
This coming Monday we will celebrate Labor Day. Some of us will march with
the farmworkers’ contingent in the parade, wearing red bandanas to show
solidarity with the farm workers. Meet at the corner of Sibley Place and
East Ave by 10:15 on Monday morning, September 5, if you would like to join
Last week I went with a group from the Presbytery to visit some farms. One
of the questions people asked was, “Why do you hire people from other
countries to do this work?” The farmers explained that they can’t find
people from here that are willing to do the work – and when they do, they
usually last about three hours. (A man named Tom Rivers wrote a great
little book called “Farm Hands” about his experience trying to do the work
the migrants do. He stuck with it, lost 40 lbs, and by the end of the
summer was almost as fast as the slowest of the migrant farm workers. It is
hard work!) One of the farmers offered her opinion that besides being
difficult, farm work doesn’t have much status.
Without farm workers, there would be no food on our tables. Someone needs
to plant it, weed it, harvest it, package it. Let’s recognize the dignity
and worth of that work. Let’s work to change the laws, so that people don’t
get punished for coming here to do it! Thank you, farm workers, for all
that you do.
And thank you to all workers. Where would we be without the work you do?
The work that everyone one of us does, paid and unpaid. Work is love made
manifest – that positive energy that creates and maintains the things we
need for life. Thank you for the work you do.
Blessings and love to all,
Two of our workers from St Joe’s, Rachael Morlock and Joe Lavoie, are in
Washington DC to protest the oil pipeline that is proposed to take oil from
the tar sands in Canada all the way to Texas. Blessings on your journey,
Rachael and Joe. May it bring a bit more light to the world.
Peace activist Kathy Kelly is coming to town, again. She and David
Smith-Ferri will give a talk entitled “The Cost of War, the Price of Peace”
at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 N Fitzhugh St, on Tuesday,
Sept. 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm.
St Romero’s is almost one year old! Our first Mass was held on September 19
of last year. Shall we celebrate? Come and join us for Mass on Sunday,
September 18 at 11, and bring a dish to pass if you like for lunch
afterwards. Maybe we could have a cake in the shape of a 1!
Lastly, a message for Theresa who offered to help with the Migrant Masses.
There was a problem with my email system and I lost all of my old messages,
including yours. Would you kindly write again?
Many thanks to Mike Reimringer who is sending out the bulletin this week,
while Rachael is in Washington protesting the pipeline.
Come and join us, any Sunday you like!
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