Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Viva La Virgen de Guadalupe!

Last year around this time, my friend Maggie and Father Todd were having some intense discussions about our Hispanic community. Father sees one side of immigration issues: people who have come here to work for a fair wage and the betterment of their families. Maggie sees the other side: illegal immigrants who are misusing the system by sharing the same Social Security number, driving without a license or insurance and not paying income tax.

So, Father made a wager. He said that if Maggie came and walked in the Guadalupe procession, he would give her $100. It started as a joke, and I'm sure Father thought his money was safe, but then again, he didn't know Maggie (as well as he does now!) She said if I went along, she would go. So we did.
We started in one of the neighborhoods about a mile from the church. Led by men carrying a statue of the Virgin on their shoulders, we walked. And walked. And walked. Through every apartment complex and neighborhood, singing Guadalupe songs. For 2 hours. In the rain.

When we finally got to the church , Father handed over the $100: Which, or course, Maggie had no intention of ever taking (he ended up giving the money to Haiti).

Did walking two hours in the rain give Maggie a greater appreciation for the Hispanic community in our little town? I'm not sure, but I know Father now has a better appreciation of Maggie's strong will.

This year, there was no procession. The city police and county sheriff's office have bumped up their arrests of Hispanics and have sent many on for deportation. Local sentiment for the Hispanic community is poor (read: small-minded, cold-hearted and nasty, but that's just my opinion), and the Spanish Ministry leaders at our parish decided it just wasn't worth the risk to have the long procession. They did march around the church block, and the mass was packed, as usual. Afterward, there was supper in the Parish Center with posole (delicious pork and hominy stew -- I plan to make some this weekend). The children (and some of the adults) always dress up -- here is a sweet picture of my friends Hanna and Haidy:

Prayer for 12/12: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, unite us in our love for you and for your Son. Bless our families, that they may remain strong and intact.

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