Two Moving Reflections: Love in The Midst of Sorrow – Rev. Chava’s Ministry with Migrants and Fr. Mychal Judge A Gay Saint on 9/11

Here we present Rev. Chava’s reflections on her migrant ministry and also a reflection on Saint Mychal Judge by Don Pachuta a friend of Woman Priest Eileen Di Franco of Philadelphia and also from  In both reflections we can feel the love in the midst of sorrow and the worst things that can happen. How beautiful are these preachers and their people. 

Rev Chava’s Reflection On Noticing the Joy

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, September 7, 2014
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

There have been so many times that there has been hard news to write about
in this bulletin: people picked up by immigration, deportations, the I-9
audit that cost everyone in our little migrant church their jobs two years
ago – and bed bugs and cockroaches and long working hours and exhaustion.
It’s important to share those stories because our friends are hidden from
mainstream North America. I’ve met people who didn’t even know there was an
immigration problem in our area. But as difficult as all those things are,
and as necessary as it is to share them, it is also important to notice the

This past weekend held some very real joy, as we celebrated the wedding of
two folks from our community. The happiest memory for me is of the bride
and groom’s 15-month-old son toddling up the aisle and into his Papi’s
arms. He was the only member of the wedding party who didn’t know he was in
it! …and he provided some entertainment (or competition) during the homily.
After the ceremony, a neighbor invited the wedding party to take photos in
her garden across the street. I thought that was so kind. The one
disappointment in the day was the noticeable dearth of Mexicans, because
the groom’s co-workers all had to work. The bride actually drove out to the
fields to get the best man, a couple hours before the ceremony. In spite of
that, there was lots and lots of joy. Best wishes in your life together,
Constantino and Cassandra!

On Thursday I finally got our projector working with both picture and
sound, and to celebrate the first week of school, plus having a pretty
thoroughly exhausted pastor, and a very small group at church due to
illness and extra long work hours, we decided to have a movie night instead
of Mass. Brenda from St Joe’s was with us for the first time, but the kids
she had come to teach weren’t there. She had, however, made some wonderful
chili to share, so we ate and watched “Harry Potter” – until the two older
kids that were there said they needed to stop watching and go do their
homework. It was getting late anyway, so I gave them the video to watch at
home, we found containers so everyone could take home some chili, and that
was our night. I found I missed the joy of celebrating Mass together, but
was delighted and impressed by the kids’ devotion to their schoolwork.

Another source of joy this week was learning that the book “Border Patrol
Nation” is being used as a textbook at the Divinity School this fall. The
author, Todd Miller, will be doing a speaking  tour of upstate NY in
November. He will be at St John Fisher the evening of November 4 (6:15) and
at ROCLA (which meets at DUPC) at 7 pm on November 5. I recommend his book
highly and hope you can make it to one or both of his talks.

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
A member community of the Federation of Christian Ministries


Saint Michael Judge by Don Pachuta

As we approach the memory of that horrific day, we pause to honor Saint Mychal Judge, a Franciscan priest, and Fire Department of New York Chaplain, died on September 11, 2001. They labeled him casualty 001. Thepicture of his lifeless body being carried out from the Tower has become an icon of that day. He died because he loved his neighbors, and even put them above himself. He walked in the feet of Jesus as he went into the burning NorthTower to minister to others. Other priests were present but he was the only priest to enter the Towers. He walked in the feet of Jesus when he refused the evacuation order, saying his work was not yet done. He continued to anoint those who were stricken and to pray with them, for them, and over them, until he was killed by flying debris from the collapse of the South Tower. He is oneof the great heroes of that day and a martyr in every sense of that word. Hegave his life for others walking in the feet of Jesus – “Greater love no one has than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). He lived a saintly and compassionate life, whether in Northern Ireland, or New York. He ministered to everyone, including those most outcast in society,addicts and people with AIDS. He continued serving as chaplain to Dignity,despite his hierarchy’s objections to such a ministry to people who are gay. Oh yes, incidentally, he happened to be born gay, a fact totally irrelevant to the New York mayor, fire commissioner, and firefighters. He remained a celibate priest true to his vows. The Orthodox Church recognizes him as a saint. There is an Old Catholic Church in Dallas named Saint Mychal Judge. You will feel inspired if you visit the website That would pay homage to him and all the dead heroes of that day and since. Fr.Mychal truly manifests that greater love which Jesus expounds on. Here is the prayer he spontaneously spoke in his last homily the day before, a prayer for all seasons
Prayer ofThanksgiving
by Fr. Mychal Judge

Thank You, Lord, for life.
Thank You for love.
Thank You for goodness.
Thank You for work.
Thank You for family.
Thank You for friends.
Thank You for every gift
because we know
that every gift comes from You, and
without You, we have and are nothing.

As we celebrate this day in thanksgiving to You,
keep our hearts and minds open.
Let us enjoy each other’s company, and
most of all, let us be conscious of Your presence in our lives,
and in a special way, in the lives of those who have gone before us.
Father, we make our prayer in Jesus’ name,
who lives with You forever.  Amen.

Gay saint of 9/11: Mychal Judge

“Holy Passion Bearer Mychal Judge and St. Francis of Assisi”
By Father William Hart McNichols

A gay priest is considered a saint by many since his heroic death in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

Father Mychal Judge (1933-2001), chaplain to New York City firefighters, responded quickly when Muslim extremists flew hijacked planes into the twin towers. He rushed with firefighters into the north tower right after the first plane hit. Refusing to be evacuated, he prayed and administered sacraments as debris crashed outside. He saw dozens of bodies hit the plaza outside as people jumped to their deaths. His final prayer, repeated over and over, was “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”

While he was praying, Father Mychal was struck and killed in a storm of flying steel and concrete that exploded when the south tower collapsed. He was the first officially recorded fatality of the 9/11 attack. Father Mychal was designated as Victim 0001 because his was the first body recovered at the scene. More than 2,500 people from many nationalities and walks of life were killed. Thousands more escaped the buildings safely.

After Father Mychal’s death, some of his friends revealed that he considered himself a gay man. He had a homosexual orientation, but by all accounts he remained faithful to his vow of celibacy as a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan order.

The charismatic, elderly priest was a long-term member of Dignity, the oldest and largest national lay movement of LGBT Catholics and their allies. Father Mychal voiced disagreement with the Vatican’s condemnation of homosexuality, and found ways to welcome Dignity’s AIDS ministry despite a ban by church leaders. He defied a church boycott of the first gay-inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade in Queens, showing up in his habit and granting news media interviews.

Many people, both inside and outside the GLBT community, call Father Mychal a saint. He has not been canonized by his own Roman Catholic Church, but some feel that he has already become a saint by popular acclamation, and the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America did declare officially declare him a saint. For more info on Father Mychal, visit  his Wikipedia entry or the Saint Mychal Judge Blog.

The above icon by Father William Hart McNichols shows Father Mychal with St. Francis of Assisi as the World Trade Center burns behind them. They hold out a veil to gather and help people who cry out in times of violence and terror. In the text accompanying the icon, Father McNichols describes Father Mychal as a Passion Bearer who “takes on the on-coming violence rather than returning it… choosing solidarity with the unprotected…..”

We thank God for Rev. Chava and for Fr. Mychal Judge for they are the pioneer priests of a new day of justice for all and truly “walk in Jesus’ shoes.  May God help us all to walk in those shoes. Pastor Judy Lee  

photo 3


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