Blessings at Rev. Chava’s Migrant Ministry
We are happy to share the good news from Rev. Chava Redonnet’s Migrant Ministry in a Newsletter from RC woman Priest, Rev. Chava. I am sure that all support is still needed and welcomed. Rev. Judy Lee,RCWP
Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, June 12, 2016 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This past week, my daughters and I traveled to Boston for the funeral of my Uncle Ed. Clare, Bridget and I shared the driving, and Emily met us there. As such moments often are, it was a warm family time. I talked with my aunt, my cousins and their spouses and children. My aunt and uncle had five children, fifteen grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren, so you can imagine the size of the group. At lunch nearly everybody had on Red Sox outfits, even the four-month-old baby. It was a loving and beautiful family time, with lots of gratitude for a life well lived.
Last night Santiago and I had dinner at our favorite Mexican Restaurant, where we are always greeted like old friends. Our server was a young man who always makes a point of coming over to talk with us. His wife and small daughter are in Mexico; every week he calls them, and sends money home. I know so many people who are doing that. They have kids at home who are growing up, never seeing their parents. Grandchildren never met except on the telephone. Spouses not seen for years. Funerals unattended because they can’t get back. Even weddings never performed, because “We can’t do it without Mom there.”
Culturally, most Mexicans can run circles around most of us in the US when it comes to family values. But when there is no work, no way to support your family in the place where you live, family values mean years of separation, hard work, loneliness. Family values – and survival – means coming to a place where you will be persecuted for being undocumented, for being here without permission. We in the United States haven’t got a clue – when we talk about building a wall, sending everybody back – what the reality is that we’re sending people back to. Every family matters. And we are all family.
I still have not solved the problem of how to get the bulletin out each week, and will be asking Rachael to make another special exception for this one. There are three pieces of news to share: it’s good news/ bad news/ good news.
First, the wonderful news that Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church is the recipient of a grant of $30,000 from the Joseph Rippey Trust, for the purpose of buying and retrofitting an existing farmhouse to use for the migrant ministry. We had already raised $20K, so now we have met the goal of $50,000 and can start looking. Woo hoo!
Second, we started the migrant Mass earlier than usual this year, and had a lovely celebration in early May, in the little house we’ve been using for church these past several summers. Since then, people have been working too late planting, but by the end of May we were ready to start again. Then, ten days ago when I went to set up for Mass – I found there was someone living in the house! There had been a miscommunication, and someone thought the house was empty and told him he could use it. In the end, his need for a place to live outweighed our need for a place to worship, and last weekend we cleared out all our things but the bookshelves and table (which I still need to go get if I can get the use of a truck). All our books and toys and folding chairs are in my basement, probably until we get a place of our own. The farmer told me that without the house, that man would have been homeless — so here’s a nice bit of reversal. A homeless person threw out a church! – instead of the other way around, as it has so often been. God is smiling.
And I’m not worried. This is our latest blessing, I am sure. Before long we will be saying “oh, thank goodness that happened!” – so we might as well start being grateful right now.
And that brings me to the last bit of good news. Do you know what this coming Thursday is??? It’s our fifth anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!! The first Migrant Mass was on June 16, 2011. We started celebrating Mass in a parking lot in front of a migrant dwelling in Byron, NY, everybody standing around, hearing the birds in the trees and feeling the breeze on our faces while we worshipped. So much has happened since then! So this Thursday we will have a special Mass and party to celebrate. I was trying to figure out where we would have it, when Santiago pointed out, “We started outside…. How about over there?” …pointing to Idalia and Fili’s yard across the street. So that’s where we will be, and everybody is welcome. Bring a dish to pass and we’ll have a community supper before Mass. We’ll try for 7 for supper and 8 for Mass, and afterwards we’ll have cake! – and we are celebrating, not only our fifth anniversary, but Ana’s graduation from High School!!!!! Congratulations, Ana! We are so proud of you.
Let me know if you want to join us and I’ll tell you how to find us!
So: hope, and gratitude, and trust. All will be well. Thank you, God of Love, for five years that none of us could have imagined! You are so amazing.
Love and blessings to all –
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
Words used by Lilla Watson, Aboriginal elder, activist and educator from Queensland, Australia.
Oscar Romero Church An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in 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