This past week has introduced us to two distinct people. Sister Guadalupe Ramirez, MCDP, is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Catholic University. She is in her 49th year of Consecrated Life, celebrating a milestone at the turn of the calendar. Her full time post is with Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) in San Antonio. She is teaching us a three week intense course entitled Hispanic Ministry in the 21st Century: Blessings and Challenges.
The other distinct guest is Bishop Joseph Tyson from Washington’s central valley, an extended Mexico from His Excellency’s point of view, taking the reigns in the Diocese of Yakima where 80% of his white collared men are Spanish speaking priests.
This past week, both these consecrated persons have given me a deeper look into the Church’s love for the immigrant, the Body of Christ seeking to have no political boundaries in service to the God whose earthly parents were once immigrants in a foreign land. Here are a few points I place for this read:
- Sister Guadalupe began her intensified class with Virgilio Elizondo’s book The Future of is Mestizo: Life Where Cultures Meet. Elizondo, former rector at the chair of San Antonio, speaks of his constant struggle to find identity living on the boarder of San Antonio and Mexico. Who is he? Is he Mexican or American, is he something more? In this early read, Elizondo is a mix of cultures and biology, a mestizo, not bound by borders.
- Bishop Tyson reminded us that in the midst of high stress in the ministry, one must constantly be reminded of God’s humor in it all. He gave us three points in service to a growing cultural church in Norte America. We must be a.) men of prayer; b.) Keep in mind that faith stands inside culture; c.) We must accompany our people in their journey of faith.
What binds us is not the color of our skin, our political stand points in a world often divided by governmental politics. What binds us is the mestizo par excellence: Jesus Christ.
He is the one who crossed all boundaries, who continues to actively bring color and culture together in a unified manner. He is the one who makes himself entirely available to all people irrespective of their documentation – background, knowledge, or wealth. Jesus Christ is the one we serve in his Church that comprises all cultures: the rich and the poor, the Mexican and the Spanish, the Filipino or the Black. At his cross there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free. We are one body in him.
Celebration is important to the Mexican people, so check out this video as a few of us surprise Father Pablo with a little happy birthday: