Bulletin for Sunday, October 14, 2012: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,

Tuesday morning I sat in the sala of the little house where some of our friends live, waiting for the bed that fifteen people got together to buy for our young pregnant couple.  The mom-to-be was standing in the doorway of the house and asked what the truck would look like, because one had just driven by.  Sure enough the delivery men had driven right through the area with its twenty or so migrant houses and gone on to a section with middle class homes.  I went to the door and waved my arms and shouted until they came back and saw us.  The two delivery men helped us get the bed-bug-proof covers on the mattress and box spring, and set up the bed for us.  They looked shaken when they left, and I remembered how I felt the first time I saw the inside of the house.  I wonder what they told their families that night.

Last night after Mass, the young father-to-be told me that the next time he sees me he will give me a big bucket of onions and potatoes to bring to St. Joe’s.  So you see, they are passing on the kindness.  They also send their thanks to all of the abuelas who have helped to make their nights more comfortable.  It felt so good to make up that bed with sheets, blankets, pillows and coverlet.  I even taught our young mom how to make hospital corners, just like my mom showed me.  Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible.

Our Mass last night was smaller than the week before and we were able to hold it inside in an unused bedroom.  The guys were pretty upset from their day.  There had been two days with no work (because of weather) and that day, as they said, the boss had tried to get them to do three days of work in one.  “They work us like animals,” they said.  The Gospel was about the rich man who asks what he needs to do for eternal life, and who goes away sad when Jesus says to sell what he has and give it to the poor and follow him.  We talked about the kindom of God and how it’s not about power and wealth, but is in the love between people, the moments of sharing that make us get bigger inside. I told them that the moment the week before when two of the guys brought their bedroom lamps out for us to have light for the Mass was a Kindom of God moment for me. We talked about how wealth can insulate a person from being aware of their need for God, how they can even forget that other people are human beings and not machines or animals or slaves.  I urged them to remember that they are precious no matter how they are treated at work.

People are already starting to head to Florida.  One man leaves Saturday; others will be gone in two weeks.  This coming Thursday, October 18th,  we will have a normal Mass and the following week, the 25th, we will have a good bye party and a blessing at the end of Mass.  Please pray for our guys as they travel and for those of us left behind as we figure out how to be church through out the winter.

On a glad note, our friends Eli Woodbeck and Alison Beranek will be married on October 20th in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Eli was a part of the St. Joe’s community and instrumental in the early months of St. Romero’s.  Tom Malthaner and I will be there, representing St. Joe’s.  So, THERE WILL BE NO MASS ON SUNDAY OCTOBER 21ST.  We will resume on the 28th.  Eli and Alison, blessings as you prepare to be wed.  You light up the world.

Thanks again to Anne for typing this bulletin.  My carpel tunnel is improving, but slowly. I am grateful for the help!

Blessing and Love to everyone, and as always you are welcome to join us Sunday at 11.  Let’s pray for our country as we prepare to vote.  May we be a more just and peaceful nation, and may we choose leaders who will help us to be so.

Love to all,   
Chava

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

Bulletin for Sunday, October 07, 2012: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,

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,
Chava

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
 

Bulletin for Sunday, September 30, 2012: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,

 

“Oigan cómo clama contra ustedes el salario no pagado a los obreros que les trabajaron sus campos. El clamor de esos trabajadores ha llegado a oídos del Señor Todopoderoso.” Santiago 5: 4
(Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty) James 5:4

 

I listened to the young man reading these words last night, surrounded by his companions and silhouetted against the industrial light hanging on the side of their house as we worshiped outside, and I got angry all over again.  How is it possible that these words are still true after 2000 years?  “You’re in the Bible!”  I told them.  We talked about finding life in the midst of the terrible situation they’re in.  We talked about the importance of life-giving human connections.  I told them the glad story of how I went with our young couple to the doctor and was allowed to sit in on their ultrasound:  How the three of us sat in awe and wonder and looked at those tiny fingers and how I got to watch the faces of the parents as they saw the image of their baby for the first time.  Life is indeed hard and their lives are full of injustice, but in the middle of it all there is joy. 

 

And I felt joy last night looking around at our little group.  Santiago (Capo) was holding the book for me as I prayed the Mass, and as I looked around at our little group, I do believe that what we are doing is life giving, a source of hope and connection.  Gracias Dios por nuestra pequeña iglesa!

 

Other good news to share:   A number of women have contributed to buy a bed for our young couple, calling themselves “the Abuelas” (Grandmothers). One woman even offered to buy a bed for them herself if others didn’t contribute.  They will have their bed in a few days.  Thank you so much!  I think the story of a pregnant woman sleeping on the floor sparked radical empathy in women who remember those days so well. 

 

This coming Thursday, we welcome Pastora Ruth Rodriguez de Orantes from Shekina Church in Santa Ana, El Salvador to our migrant Mass.  We will begin with a pot luck supper at 7:30.  You are welcome to join us.   Please let me know if you are coming. 

 

Finally, I would like to note the retirement of Bishop Clark, and express my gratitude for his years as our Bishop.  I will never forget what he said to us at Corpus Christi in October 1998:  “Don’t think that I am telling you not to obey your conscience.  You must obey your conscience.  But there will be consequences.”  God Bless you in your retirement, Bishop Clark, and thank you for your leadership and vision.

 

Many thanks to Anne Haydanek, who is transcribing this bulletin today.   Please let me know if you would like to offer this service sometime in the next few weeks as I continue to recover from carpal tunnel.

 

The trees are starting to change, get out there and enjoy the colors! 

 

Love to all,
Chava

 

P.S. We are still looking for volunteers for the Rural and Migrant Ministries Dinner on December 4, 2012, please let me know if you would like to help with setup, serving and clean up,  in exchange for a free dinner! 

 

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

Bulletin for Sunday, September 23, 2012: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,

Last Sunday I got a call at 10:30 in the morning from our friend Michael, who was calling to let me know he would not be at church, Since the fire at his home in July he has relocated and it is now an hour and a half walk to church and he did not have bus fare. I asked if he wanted a ride but he said no, it was just a courtesy call to let me know that he wouldn’t be there. I went on to mass, wondering if anyone at all would show up that day. I often wonder this, and sometimes ask God if it’s time to stop trying. But, every time I reach that point, somebody shows up wanting Mass. There was a woman with a baby with us for the first time, as well as Jose, Paul and Joe. And then I realized: this week is our second anniversary! I thought it was pretty wonderful to have a baby with us on our second anniversary. It seemed to me like a sign of hope.

This week is also the first anniversary of the liberation of our friends from the detention center. At the one year mark they are still looking for a lawyer, but day to day all is well. We have learned that the Mexican consulate will be coming to Western New York this fall, so we will not need to travel to New York City and are grateful for that. We ask for your prayers for the coming year for these two men, for our little church (in both its Spanish and English iterations)  and for all in the community.

It’s been in the news a lot lately that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke dismissively of the 47% of people in our country who don’t pay income tax, saying that it’s not his job to worry about them. For the record, I’d like to note that the folks in our migrant community do pay income tax. It is taken out of their checks, and they are not able to file to get it back. They are also some of the last people in the world to ever expect or ask for help. They are independent, strong, resourceful and doing what they must to survive and take care of their families.

I can, however, induce them to accept practical help when it is needed. So, I will tell you that there is a young couple in our little community who are very much in need of a full size mattress. They are currently sleeping on the floor, uncomfortable at any time, but especially when you are pregnant. Let me know if you can help.


This week’s bulletin is being transcribed for me by my daughter Clare, as I am having hand pain due to carpal tunnel. I am going to need this kind of help for several weeks. If you would be willing to take a turn at typing the bulletin while I dictate, please give me a call at 585-288-6112. Email is not the best way to reach me during this time.


Ruth Rodriguez de Orantes, pastor of Shekina Baptist Church in Santa Ana, El Salvador, will be with us at the migrant mass on October 4th. You, are as always, welcome to join us, then or any Sunday morning.

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Autumn weather. I have little pumpkins in my garden, and the trees are starting to turn! Last Thursday night we had cider and donut holes for our social time after the migrant mass. I hope you are finding the many ways to enjoy this time of year.

Love to all,
Chava

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

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Bulletin for Sunday, September 23, 2012: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,

Last Sunday I got a call at 10:30 in the morning from our friend
Michael, who was calling to let me know he would not be at church,
Since the fire at his home in July he has relocated and it is now an
hour and a half walk to church and he did not have bus fare. I asked
if he wanted a ride but he said no, it was just a courtesy call to let
me know that he wouldn’t be there. I went on to mass, wondering if
anyone at all would show up that day. I often wonder this, and
sometimes ask God if it’s time to stop trying. But, every time I reach
that point, somebody shows up wanting Mass. There was a woman with a
baby with us for the first time, as well as Jose, Paul and Joe. And
then I realized: this week is our second anniversary! I thought it was
pretty wonderful to have a baby with us on our second anniversary. It
seemed to me like a sign of hope.

This week is also the first anniversary of the liberation of our
friends from the detention center. At the one year mark they are still
looking for a lawyer, but day to day all is well. We have learned that
the Mexican consulate will be coming to Western New York this fall, so
we will not need to travel to New York City and are grateful for that.
We ask for your prayers for the coming year for these two men, for our
little church (in both its Spanish and English iterations)  and for
all in the community.

It’s been in the news a lot lately that Presidential candidate Mitt
Romney spoke dismissively of the 47% of people in our country who
don’t pay income tax, saying that it’s not his job to worry about
them. For the record, I’d like to note that the folks in our migrant
community do pay income tax. It is taken out of their checks, and they
are not able to file to get it back. They are also some of the last
people in the world to ever expect or ask for help. They are
independent, strong, resourceful and doing what they must to survive
and take care of their families.

I can, however, induce them to accept practical help when it is
needed. So, I will tell you that there is a young couple in our little
community who are very much in need of a full size mattress. They are
currently sleeping on the floor, uncomfortable at any time, but
especially when you are pregnant. Let me know if you can help.


This week’s bulletin is being transcribed for me by my daughter Clare,
as I am having hand pain due to carpal tunnel. I am going to need this
kind of help for several weeks. If you would be willing to take a turn
at typing the bulletin while I dictate, please give me a call at
585-288-6112. Email is not the best way to reach me during this time.


Ruth Rodriguez de Orantes, pastor of Shekina Baptist Church in Santa
Ana, El Salvador, will be with us at the migrant mass on October 4th.
You, are as always, welcome to join us, then or any Sunday morning.

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Autumn weather. I have little
pumpkins in my garden, and the trees are starting to turn! Last
Thursday night we had cider and donut holes for our social time after
the migrant mass. I hope you are finding the many ways to enjoy this
time of year.

Love to all,
Chava

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

Bulletin for Sunday, September 16, 2012: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,
Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a canyon. As far as the eye can see – and it looks like you can see for a hundred miles! – there are rock formations, 300 million years of rocks, first laid down by oceans and compressed by time and the layers above them, then stripped away by water and wind, leaving columns and arches and exposed layers of many colors. In the distance there are mountains; close up, a drop of a thousand feet that makes your legs weak in the contemplation of it. The late afternoon sun fills the canyons with light and shade, and deep colors. And then, in the midst of all this strange, arid beauty, you listen. There are no sounds of cars, trucks, trains, airplanes. There is no hum of electricity, no sound of running water, no air moving through trees. No insects humming, no sound of birds. Only silence. Immense, vast silence that goes on for miles and miles. A silence like that becomes a thing, an object with mass and weight that you can return to in memory, and feel again the awe and peace, the extreme serenity of that immense stillness.

This is what vacations are for: to take us out of our busyness, and give us experiences that nourish us and show us that there is more to life than our schedules. I hope you had some vacation time this summer. My week in Utah was a great blessing. It was ever so good to spend time with my eldest daughter, and to spend that time together in some of the most remarkable places on earth, our national parks.(That was Canyonlands I was describing; we also went to Arches).

We will resume Mass this Sunday at 11 at St Joe’s. Last night at the Migrant Mass, I finally remembered that I had a camping lantern in the basement, so we had light. As I led the Mass, a feral kitten hiding under the altar kept batting at my feet. I felt embarrassed talking about my vacation with people who work seven days a week and never get vacation time, but they seemed to enjoy hearing about the parks. I sent a postcard to the young couple that’s expecting a baby. They don’t check the mail very often because there’s usually just junk mail and stuff for people that lived in their houses before them, so we went and dug it out of the mailbox. The young man’s face lit up as he looked at the postcard picture and I described what we saw. I’ll bet that was the first postcard he ever got.

Our friend Michael, who experienced a house fire back in July, reports that people have been so generous that he and his housemates now have more furniture than they know what to do with. Thanks for your prayers for him and for all whose lives are hard, especially the migrant farm workers.

The trees are starting to turn! Enjoy the fall colors.
Love to all,
Chava

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

Bulletin for Sunday, September 3, 2012: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,
Lory Ghertner, who works so hard for immigration reform and the rights of farm workers in Sodus, sent around a copy of the Republican platform statement on immigration. It begins by praising the work of legal immigrants, then moves to a hard line on those without documents, and rejects any possibility of amnesty. (In all fairness, I haven’t seen the Democratic party’s statement yet and have no idea what that will contain). As with any public statement involving the lives of poor people, I find that the reality down on the ground looks ever so different than the image one hears from people in power.

Last night I pulled into the parking lot in front of the little house where we celebrate the migrant Mass each week. One of the young men came out to meet me, telling me that he knew it was me, even though I was driving a different car. We looked at my car and I tried my best to explain about the old one not being able to pass inspection without a lot of repairs, and it being time to get another. Mostly we agreed that it was a good car and looked nice. (ten years old and super reliable, should be able to handle those back country roads through the winter and beyond). I ask him about the bug situation at their house. Having had some success with the bug war at the casita, I’m ready to offer help here, too.

The altar had already been set up, a crate on four upended buckets. As I laid the altarcloth and set out the candles, I repeatedly removed a curious Siamese kitten, who kept us company all through the Mass. The others joined us, one by one. It’s getting dark so early now that by the time of the first reading it was too dark to see the book. I held up one of the altar candles as one man read the first reading, and another the psalm. When it was my turn to read, someone had the idea of using the light from his cell phone as a flashlight. That worked really well.

The older men sat on a couple of plastic chairs, exhausted from the work of the day. The younger men stood, as did I, holding the cat while I preached. I told them about the Labor Day parade and how Librada and I will march with the farmworkers. They had heard of Labor Day, but no one expected to have the day off. They don’t get holidays. We prayed for our young friend who no longer lives with them. (I’m sad. He was going to be baptized, and now I don’t know if it will happen. Plus I miss him). We prayed for Michael, still recovering from his house fire. I pray the Eucharistic Prayer in the dark, with the help of the cell phone, lifting a candle along with the host so everyone can see it before communion.

After Mass, besides the usual cookies, I’ve got dinner to share. Capo has been working so late, getting home at ten pm, with no energy to cook – so I made him supper and had meant to leave it at his house after Mass – but surprise! He got out early and came to Mass. So I ask if there are plates and forks and a spoon, and someone brings out some plastic bowls and a serving spoon. There are no forks, so we eat our rice and cauliflower and sausage with our fingers, and there is enough for everyone. Capo insists that the others be served before him, and then helps with translation as I try to understand the story one of the men is telling me about a situation in his family. He’s upset and worried, and I so wish I could understand him better. We talk in the dark, until finally I blow out the altar candles and pack up to leave.

Community – solidarity – caring – sharing food – listening – helping each other – enjoying the moment together – worshipping together. Thank God for our little church! What a blessing it is, to be together.


No 11 am Mass next Sunday, September 9, as I will be in Utah visiting my daughter, Clare. There will also be no bulletin this coming week. Hope to see you on September 16 at 11 am.

Love to all,
Chava

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”
– Paolo Friere

 Come and march with farmworkers in the Labor Day parade this Monday, Sept 3. Gather at Sibley Place and East Ave between 9 and 9:30 am. Please wear red or white, and a red bandana if you have one.

Attached you will find a document from the New York Civil Liberties Union about Farmworker Myths and Facts. Thanks to Marylu Aguilar for passing that along. http://www.nyclu.org/files/releases/2012.5.22_Myths%20and%20Facts.pdf

Have a blessed labor day. Think of our farmworkers as you rest from your own labor. Without their work we would not eat. How can we change this system, so that everyone gets fed, but no one gets overworked and exploited?

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

Bulletin for Sunday, August 26, 2012: 21st Sunday in Ordinary time

Friends,

Recently a colleague of mine from Divinity School posted a thought on facebook: “why is it that most of what I do as a pastor was never covered in seminary?”

I thought of that this past week as we fought the Bug Wars in the migrant ministry. We “bombed” and cleaned and caulked and stuffed cracks with steel wool. We fought cockroaches, bedbugs, fleas, and bugs I can’t name. I learned a few things: like, if you spray a bedbug with alcohol, it stops moving and goes all flat, and you can squash it with a Kleenex (it doesn’t quite die just from the alcohol; I watched one waddle away once the alcohol evaporated. Well: watched, then squished). I learned that cockroaches are much more interested in boxes of plastic wrap than in bags of sugar. Also that barriers are the most important thing; hence the caulk and the steel wool.

We’ll be waging this war for a while, but (dare I say it?) there’s already a big improvement. And who knows? Maybe the Divinity School will decide to offer a class in battling cockroaches and bedbugs, and I’ll be prepared to teach it! I’ll bet one’s “yes” to God often leads to a close acquaintance with vermin. It did for Dorothy Day!

While the house was being “bombed” we went off to do laundry, and stopped to visit some friends. My young friend told them that we were bombing for bugs, and said (I think not realizing that I could understand her), “She’s even afraid of butterflies!”

Always happy to be a source of amusement, and hope that our work made a difference for good. Many thanks to those whose recent contributions funded this war on bugs; your gifts are helping to make that little house feel more like a home again.

Sending prayers for a safe journey to our friend, Pastor Ruth Rodriquez de Orantes of Shekina Baptist Church in Santa Ana, El Salvador, as she begins her three month sabbatical in the United States. She will be here in Rochester the first week of October, and will join us for the Migrant Mass on Thursday, October 4 (the Feast of St Francis!)

Come and join us for Mass at St Joseph’s House of Hospitality any Sunday at 11, or for the Migrant Mass, leaving St Joe’s about 6:45 on Thursdays and returning around 10:30.

Love and light to all
Chava


Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620

Bulletin for Sunday, August 19, 2012: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,
Have you been following the situation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the LCWR, as they deal with the Vatican’s attempt to control them? It has been very reminiscent of our situation at Corpus Christi in the fall of 1998. They have risen to the occasion and are presenting their best, Spirit-filled, wise selves. Last week they had their annual assembly, and their outgoing leader, Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell, gave a talk in which she outlined six tools used by those in religious life through the centuries as they respond to a God who is “calling to us from the future.” Her list of tools resonates with me as I think about St Romero’s, and especially our migrant ministry. I believe it would ring true for anyone stumbling along after Jesus, shouting “Yes!”

Sr. Pat’s list (the comments are mine):

1.      Contemplation: our Yes to God that leads us to go out and heal, to change the world, must be rooted in prayer. It is in prayer that I hear God telling me to quit worrying about the future, and to just keep showing up. Prayer binds up our wounds and keeps us close to the source, gives us nourishment and clarity and joy.

 

2.      A “prophetic voice”: Sometimes the most courageous thing is simply to name the truth. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that “The church's task is not simply to bind up the wounds of the victim beneath the wheel, but also to put a spoke in the wheel itself.” Did you ever do that, maybe to a bicycle wheel when you were a kid? Did you see what happened to the thing you put in the wheel? This is why prayer is #1 on this list. Prayer often leads to resistance; and the courage to resist often comes from prayer.

3.      Through “solidarity with the marginalized”: Shane Claiborne said that the world is desperately in need of people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.” I say amen to that. There are things you just can’t know unless you are in relationship with people. It is one thing to hear that migrant workers need a change in the farm labor laws. It is something else to see people you love working seven days a week, packaging vegetables while standing on their feet until 9:30 every night except Sunday, when they are let go at 6 so they have a few hours to do their grocery shopping and wash their clothes. I’m told this will last at least until October. It is one thing to read about deplorable living conditions, and another to see your friends covered with bedbug bites and to sit in their sweltering home watching bugs run all over the walls while you eat. Oscar Romero spoke of sharing the same fate as the poor. When we are truly in solidarity, we suffer, too. We suffer the worry of loved ones being taken by la migra, and share the uncertainty, the inability to plan. We get to know how the world looks through their eyes.

4.      Community: Scott Peck said, “In community lies the salvation of the world.” When we know how connected we are; when we know that truly we are equals; when we learn to use our own power and privilege, not to dominate, to open doors for others; when we know that all of us, together, both give and receive, life happens. Joy happens. Hope, energy and vision. It is one of the most exciting things in the world. It is worth spending your life!

5.      Nonviolence: We are about doing something new. Always new, always fresh, even though it’s been said for centuries and centuries. What does it mean to love one’s enemies? How do you resist evil with love? Finding what this means in each new age, each new situation: this, too, is worth your whole life!

6.      “Living in joyful hope”: why do it if there isn’t joy? Joy is at the heart of the love that forms the universe. If there isn’t joy, be suspicious! Because, as Teilhard de Chardin is reported to have said, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” And this brings us full circle, because if you want joy, go to the source of it. Spend time in contemplation with the God who set the stars in motion, and know that all is most deeply, profoundly, utterly well.

You can find a National Catholic Reporter article about her talk, here:
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/lcwr-presidents-six-tools-answering-vat

No 11 am Mass this Sunday, August 19. Hope to see you on the 26th!

 Love to all,
Chava

St John's Home is in need of volunteers to transport our elders to and from Sunday afternoon worship service, between 1:30 and 3:30 pm. This involves going up to the floors and bringing folks down for worship, then bringing them back up afterwards. It is an ideal project for a group of 5 or 6 people, a great service opportunity for Small Christian communities or other groups looking for a way to serve. Individuals are also most welcome. Please call Anne Hayadenek at St John's Home, 585-760-1291, to volunteer or for more information. St John's Home is located at 150 Highland Avenue, Rochester, 14620.

There is a need for Spanish language reading material for someone who will be unable to work for a while in the migrant community. If you happen to have any Spanish novels, magazines, whatever, I’d be happy to pass them along.

This past Wednesday, August 15, would have been the 95th birthday of Monsenor Oscar Romero. I am so grateful for his life! (and would like to point out that he shares his birthday withboth my friend Rev. Rachel McGuire of Immanuel Baptist Church, and Julia Child! Take that, Mike Streb!)

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

Bulletin for Sunday, August 12, 2012: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,


At the migrant Mass last night we talked about stepping out in trust, walking through life not knowing what is ahead, and about growing close to God and how that relationship makes it easier to keep putting one foot forward. I am happy to tell you that indeed, “we” talked about that, because almost everyone participates in the sermon, now. That gives me a lot of joy!

We were part way through the Eucharistic Prayer when a couple of guys joined us. One of them I knew, and the other was new to me. I was surprised when one of them began talking, but I waited, and listened, and caught the word, “la migra.” They had just seen a border patrol car, they said. Throughout the rest of the Mass, at every sound heads would turn, checking to see if a car was coming up the dirt road that is their driveway.

After communion I decided to use the moment to show everyone a handbook I had brought from the ACLU called “Conoce Sus Derechos.” Know your rights. I asked them to read it, and to share it with everyone in the house. I checked that they all had my phone number. And then I gave them a blessing. Be safe. Be well. Know that you are in the hands of God, always.

As we passed around oatmeal cookies after Mass, more stories came out. How the border patrol had set up a road block near Batavia and stopped anyone who looked Mexican. How that day, la migra had pulled over a van with eight farm workers, but they had all scattered. The man I did not know had outrun la migra in a cornfield.  “Felicidades,” I said. Congratulations. (What, indeed, is the proper response when someone tells you they outran la migra? Everyone laughed.)

Another man in the group reported that his brother-in-law was back in Mexico after having been deported a week or two ago. Three weeks ago he approached me after Mass, asking if I could get some money to his brother-in-law in the detention center in Batavia. I was hesitant, because I didn’t know how to do it. It turned out to be simple: a money order, brought to the front desk at the detention center, will be deposited in the person’s account. When they are deported, they are given the money in cash. This is really important, because when someone is deported, they are simply brought to the border and let go. Can you imagine if you or I were deported from Mexico, and they brought us to, say, San Diego, and left us there? With no money, no means of transportation, knowing no one there – thousands of miles from the place that once was home, easy prey for unscrupulous people – what a frightening experience. They tell me that there are “refugios,” places like St Joe’s from the sound of it, where a person can find shelter and food. But for family members here, when someone they love is about to be deported, getting some money into their hands becomes very important. Obviously, they can’t do it themselves. So this adds one more element to what it means to be a full service church, when one is serving undocumented people.

Meanwhile, back at the casita, our other friends got home from work at about a quarter past ten. They have finally finished planting cabbage. I thought this would mean more reasonable work hours, but instead, it’s worse. They’re working in the bodega packaging cabbage, and for some reason their hours are longer than ever.

Why, why, why do people who work harder than anyone should have to, doing work that people born here simply will not do, also have to live in fear? (and in wretched conditions. Don’t get me started on the bugs).

Please pray. Pray for light in this desperate situation. And then ---

Let’s be that light.

 Love to all,
Chava

On Sunday, August 19, I will be out of town at Spanish for Activists Camp. So far, I don’t have anyone to do a communion service, and it looks like we will simply not have Mass that Sunday. Next week’s bulletin will have the information, one way or the other.

We look forward to a visit from Ruth Rodriquez de Orantes of Shekina Church in Santa Ana, El Salvador, the first week in October. Ruth was last here for my ordination in May, 2010. She will also visit Immanuel Baptist and the divinity school. I am so happy that she will be here.

There is a need for Spanish language reading material for someone who will be unable to work for a while in the migrant community. If you happen to have any Spanish novels, magazines, whatever, I’d be happy to pass them along. I’ve already given her a set of teach-yourself-English dvds!


Saturday, August 11, is the feast of St Clare of Assisi. May the memory of this saint who loved poverty be a blessing to us who live in so much abundance, and help us to care profoundly for those living in poverty, ignorance and fear today. May we trust God as utterly and completely as she did. Amen!

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