A RC Woman Priest, Rev. Chava Redonnet, Reflects on “the Sacrament of Civil Disobedience”

Here is a report and All Soul’s Day reflection by Rev. Chava Redonnet,RCWP that spotlights immigration. It is beautiful and worth reading! For further reflection on All Soul’s and All Saints Day you may also look in the Archives of this blog for the Nov. 1, 2015 homilies and reflections of Rev. Beverly Bingle and myself. . Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

 FROM Rev. Chava Redonnet, RCWP

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, October 30, 2016                                                            31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

It’s November 2, the Feast of All Souls, celebrated throughout Latin America as Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.  Two years ago today I was in El Salvador with Rachel McGuire and Ruth Rodriguez de Orantes, and experienced the Day of the Dead for the first time.

You know how in the United States, cemeteries are all grey and white, marble and granite, kind of spooky and scary and uncomfortable? My kids used to hold their breaths when we drove past a cemetery. I’m not sure what was supposed to happen if one happened to breathe, but it was an example of how we feel about cemeteries in our culture.

The first time I visited the cemetery in Santa Ana, I was surprised to find that the graves looked nothing like what I was used to. In Latin America, cemeteries are very colorful places. Tombs are constructed with ceramic tile – green, blue, yellow, pink, all the colors ceramic tile can be. And on Day of the Dead the cemeteries explode with color as each tomb is lovingly decorated, like so many home-made valentines, a love letter to those still carried in the hearts of those who loved them.

On Day of the Dead, a family might take a picnic to the cemetery, and stay all day. Everybody has the day off, and on that day two years ago it seemed like most of the population of Santa Ana was at the cemetery. Musicians play, and of course there are some tears – but as I looked around, it seemed the air was full of love.

It was like the beatitudes came alive: blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted – by loving memories, by the community of all who mourn together, by celebrating the lives of those who still live in our hearts. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, full of color and flowers and music, tears and love, all together.

Last week I wrote about the 25 people picked up by ICE in Buffalo. On Thursday, October 24, there was a demonstration at the Immigration Courthouse in Buffalo. Lots of people from Rochester were there! – including 5 of the 8 people arrested for chaining themselves to the front door of the courthouse – James and Annie from St Joe’s, Ryan from House of Mercy, Carly from the Worker Justice Center and Shannon from Take Back the Land. Jake and I were their support people, and waited for them to be released after what turned out to be a pretty harrowing afternoon in jail. There is a national group called Cosecha that organized the protest, and three young women from that organization were arrested, too. If you would like to keep up with what is happening with the Buffalo 25, I suggest getting on their mailing list, at  movimientocosechainfo@gmail.com  .   This link will take you to the page for their next event:https://www.facebook.com/events/713467655488084/?notif_t=plan_user_joined&notif_id=1477926951460313   Carly Fox is organizing drivers for farmworkers who want to attend events supporting the Buffalo 25. Contact her at cfox@wjcny.org

Just before the 8 folks went up the steps at the courthouse to begin their sit-in, I said to Annie, “What you are doing is holy. We should call it the sacrament of civil disobedience!” For a little while, they voluntarily experienced what so many experience involuntarily – all the indignities of incarceration – hunger, cold, lack of privacy. They told of being strip-searched. Carly said she was never so aware of her privilege —  voluntarily experiencing all that, but ultimately able to leave, with a court visit and not even a fine to pay, just “don’t get in trouble for six months and this will go away.” . Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall have their fill. Thanks for standing with the Buffalo 25, you 8!

Two rather lovely things happened in the past week or so. Last Thursday night at the Rural and Migrant Ministries dinner, Marilu Aguilar received an award for her years of work on behalf of farmworker justice. Tomorrow, another award – this one for Librada Paz, for being an inspirational leader! – from Latinas Unidas. Very proud of both of you! Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God – both Marilu and Librada have been steadfast and pure of heart in their work for justice.

We continue to meet for Mass at 11 am Sunday mornings at St Joe’s, and you are always welcome. The Migrant Mass has been on hiatus for a bit because people are working so late, but hopefully starting again soon. Let me know if you want to join us some Thursday!

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

A member community of the Federation of Christian Ministries

Below Rev. Chava Redonnet, RCWP a member of RCWP-East, is the 3rd from the left in the front row as you view the picture.


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