We are All Immigrants
When we listen to the Word of God, we hear about our ancestors in faith who also were immigrants. Abraham left his home in Ur searching for God's promises (Gn. 11:31 ff). Jacob's sons left looking for food (Gn. 42:1-2). Moses and the Israelites emigrated from Egypt longing for freedom (Ex. 1-18). Mary and Joseph left Bethlehem fleeing political persecution (Mt. 2:13). For them immigrating meant going through periods of hardship, hunger, disorientation, poverty, need, loneliness, uncertainty and tremendous vulnerability. Remembering the immigration of our ancestors without openness to those who are immigrating today renders our liturgy empty and meaningless. It is comforting to know that you do come from somewhere and have a culture other than just an American.
This is no different with the Mexican immigrants. They need to remember their past. They retreats help them to be proud of who they are and not to try to completely change their traditions and beliefs.
Including the music, language, food, and other Mexican culture things, immigrants feel at home and not so isolated. They need comfort in their time of loneliness and uncertainty of a new place.
Immigrants today endure some of the worst conditions of any yet in our history. Willing to work for meager wages at difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs, they are literally "dying to get in." Stories abound in recent years about the desperate attempts people make to enter this country. People die to try to enter this country. Conditions in their own country are so horrible or they need money to support their families, that they risk their lives to make their lives better. Most Americans cannot even picture what is must be like to have to move to another place and be criticized for their culture. Americans...