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Category: Social Justice

Rise!

Rise!

I don’t know what it is, but there is something so powerful about hearing the prayers of the women who are currently incarcerated at the local correctional facility. Their faith strengthens mine, and their reflections enlighten me.

Today we shared our thoughts about Lazarus.

Today’s Gospel read:

“Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” – John 11: 25-27

The faith sharing ended up going in the direction of talking about the times in our lives when we recognized that God said, “Rise!” to us.  And we talked about what it was like to hear that voice and now looking back, seeing what God’s intentions were for us. All for good and all for life.

Today was indeed a grace. These women blessed my life today!

As I walked out of the facility, I saw one of the inmates breastfeed her baby while her other visitor waited outside in the visitors area. I paused and lifted that moment in prayer.

Si, Se Puede!

Si, Se Puede!

Above Photo taken from KPCC

Today we celebrate Cesar Chavez and we are grateful to his leadership as a role model for social justice and nonviolence. What many do not know is that Cesar Chavez, is that he joined the Filipino worker strikes as well.

Here’s an excerpt from the United Farm Workers website on the strike:

The 1965-1970 Delano Grape Strike and Boycott

On September 8, 1965, Filipino American grape workers, members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, walked out on strike against Delano-area table and wine grape growers protesting years of poor pay and conditions. The Filipinos asked Cesar Chavez, who led a mostly Latino farm workers union, the National Farm Workers Association, to join their strike.

Cesar and the leaders of the NFWA believed it would be years before their fledgling union was ready for a strike. But he also knew how growers historically pitted one race against another to break field walkouts. Cesar’s union voted to join the Filipino workers’ walkouts on Mexican Independence Day, September 16, 1965. From the beginning this would be a different kind of strike.

–Cesar insisted the Latino and Filipino strikers work together, sharing the same picketlines, strike kitchens and union hall.

–He asked strikers take a solemn vow to remain nonviolent.

–The strike drew unprecedented support from outside the Central Valley, from other unions, church activists, students, Latinos and other minorities, and civil rights groups.

–Cesar led a 300-mile march, or perigrinacion, from Delano to Sacramento. It placed the farm workers’ plight squarely before the conscience of the American people.

–The strikers turned to boycotts, including table grapes, which eventually spread across North America.

But Cesar knew the strikers’ greatest weapon was simply their decision not to quit, to persevere no matter what the odds or how long it would take. The strikers had to be prepared to risk everything—beginning with their financial security.

Here’s another article on the strike.

Today, we pray that we may have the same boldness and confidence in social justice that Cesar Chavez modeled for us through his commitment to working on behalf of human rights and human dignity.

Here is another one of my favorite quotes from him:

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”

 

Amigos

Amigos

I will forever be grateful for my experiences to Nicaragua…even though the visits are emotionally, physically, and mentally demanding, especially when you are in charge of your students in a foreign country, I am grateful to accompany students on these encounters with Christ.

Today, I was reminded of how much beauty there is on these trips! Really challenging, but looking back, my heart is full of gratitude.

Please keep us in our prayers, as our Nicaragua trip is coming up as well!

Here’s a video from one of my first experiences with organization, Amigos for Christ:

Flexibility

Flexibility

You know those times when you feel like you can’t do something because you’re sick or you feel like you’re not up to it, or you just really don’t have energy for something, even though you really push yourself to do it?

And you wish someone was there to take it for you, or you wish someone would offer to help you in that moment?

Today that happened to one of my students. She had to do something, she was feeling sick, and yet we knew where we could find a last-minute (literally) replacement for her. Her friend gladly agreed and accepted the challenge, knowing that her friend was too sick to lead a prayer of the PA.

Being available, and being open to what interruptions may come our way is a great quality. I’m grateful when my students show me what it means to be flexible and reflect openness with joy to God’s little surprises along the way! …even if it is something nerve-wracking like leading prayer over the PA for all the school! It’s the little moments that are not so little.

When Eyes [and Hearts] Are Opened…

When Eyes [and Hearts] Are Opened…

My day started off with a Diocesan Youth Retreat planning meeting. How great it is to be in the company of people who are as dedicated and enthusiastic about the faith as you are! And as dedicated to the formation of youth and young adults as you are! In this Lenten season when March Madness has indeed made everything in March, just that – mad…because of the busyness that we all get wrapped up in, it is nice to pause and it is refreshing to be rejuvenated with energy and faithful spirits. Lots of exciting things ahead and my eyes have indeed been open to the number of opportunities available to see God moving in my life.

From moving homilies, to songs with lyrics that tug at my heart strings, to God-centered conversations with friends, to hugs to hanging out at the park under the warm sunshine…God’s hands are all over it all, holding everything together.

When I visited the correctional facility today, my eyes were opened to the great insight that I sometimes forget. I was reminded that when others may treat me in a rude manner or may come off as non-friendly, I must not forget that they may be going through something, or perhaps they are having a bad day. Instead – pray for them. This reminder that came through from one of the women I visited today rolled off her tongue as if it was a mantra she repeated to herself throughout the day. Watching women shepherd and support one another through verbal affirmation as it comes through in our scripture study is absolutely beautiful. It is a gift for me to witness, and my eyes were opened today with a new sense of warmth, compassion, and peace.

Being filled up with energy and enthusiasm from the morning prepared me for my visit that afternoon. And from that visit from the afternoon, I was then ready to start my week. I love how that works out so perfectly! God, you are good!