Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Five Favorites - Migrant Laborers edition

This is version of Five Favorites is definitely different, but I wanted so much to share this event with you all! For posts by people who are better at sticking to the theme, go to Moxie Wife and read the other posts of Five Favorites.

Our town is surrounded by farmland (What! In the desert? Yes, and it's not depleting ancient aquifers either! But that's a story for another post). Because of this there are a lot of migrant field workers near here - people from much poorer areas of Mexico, most of whom don't even speak spanish.

Our priest visited one group of them, maybe 45 adults plus kids, all from the same village in Oaxaca, and found out that although they wanted to partake of the Church's sacraments, because of their migratory lifestyle they had never had the opportunity. Padre arranged for 3 months of catechesis for them (taught by one of our nuns) and a couple of weeks ago had a special mass to baptize about 15 children and adults, confirm 30 of the group, then perform 12 weddings. Of course, there were a lot of first communions as well. Padre had encouraged the regular parishioners to come to show our support, and I'm so glad we were there - it was a once-in-a-lifetime event! Here are five highlights of this truly extraordinary mass:

[1] This is a shot of the couples who were entering into holy matrimony. Since none of the women and only 2 or 3 of the men speak spanish, one of the men who was getting married interpreted everything Padre said (marriage vows, instructions for putting the rings on, etc.) into Mixtec for the rest of the group.

[2] Although people down here rent their wedding gowns, confirmation suits, etc. these people couldn't afford to do even that. The money to pay for rented dresses and veils, low-cost wedding rings and baptismal suits for the children was provided by a couple of the wealthy families in the parish. What a great gift! You can see in the photo that the men didn't rent suits - that would have been way too expensive.

[3] The music was provided by a couple of the men who do the music for our neighborhood chapel. We love to hear them play because they play real ranchero-style music, and since they're not professional musicians they have a close-to-the-earth quality that evokes the hundreds of years of the ranchero culture around here.

[4] Here are some of the group holding their babies to be baptized. I wish we could have gotten a better photo of the children who were being baptized, but this is the best we could do.

[5] This is when all those being confirmed renounced the works of the devil. I love this picture - they were so elated to be coming into the Church! I doubt that these folks could afford the confirmation candles either so the local families probably covered this cost as well.

I am SO HAPPY that our priest sought out these folks and met their deeply-felt desire to become united with the Church and with each other sacramentally. The most moving part of the mass for me was during the offering, when some of the men from the group brought up a couple of HUGE baskets of green beans - literally the fruit of their labors. It was all they had to give and they gave so generously. To see a living example of the story of the widow's mite was powerful indeed. I wish I could have gotten a picture of it, but we only took pictures when others were taking them.

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