Fr. Peter J. Daly
December 13, 2001
Adios y Gracias
Mexican community turned out in force for the evening mass on the feast of Our
Lady of Guadalupe. I wasn’t too
surprised. We were going to have a
little convivio (celebration) after mass to
mark this very important day in Mexican life.
Since they are far from home here in
However, I was very surprised to see how sad they all looked. Some were even crying.
Before mass one of the men told me why. The factory were most of them worked, packing crab meat and oysters, was closing up. All of them had lost their jobs that afternoon.
Since they are here on temporary
workers visas each season, they would all be sent home to
Not only were they facing Christmas
unemployed, but now they might ever be able to return to the
They were very sad, because they had come to be a part of our parish and community. Every feast day and every event, we looked forward to their contribution. We looked forward to their singing, their humor, their food and their devotion.
When I told the people at mass that
the crab house was closing, we were all sad.
For us too, it marked the end of an era.
People have been pulling crabs and oysters out of the rivers and the
Mexicans had come here from central
But they contributed something that any parish desperately needs. They made us aware of who we are and what we are about. They reminded us of the universal church. That we are not just a community of mostly white, mostly middle class, all English speaking Americans. The Catholic Church is every race, nation and tongue. In a word, it is Catholic.
made us aware of the needs of the poor and the third world. We need that.
Like Paul said to the church in ancient
They gave us our sister parish in
The workers here reminded us of the value and dignity of hard work. They did jobs that our own young people would never dream of doing anymore.
I have long thought that the church
At mass we all prayed that Our Lady of Guadalupe would send our Mexican community back again. Not just for their sake, but for ours.