Being at my current parish is always a blessing but particularly today when we were treated to a Mother's Day liturgy that was anything but saccharine. The choir picked some great Marian songs including "Madre de Los Pobres / Madre de Nuestra América" which I have reprinted and translated below. I'm still not sure what the song's real title is, so I have displayed both of the ones I have found for it. Chords -- although for some reason not all of the verses -- can be found here. We were also treated to Ali Primera's "Madre Dejame Luchar" -- see video below. Fr. Joe complemented the music with a homily that emphasized Mary as a real flesh and blood mother, rather than the otherwordly way in which the Church too often portrays her.
And then we got into the nitty-gritty of how we can support our children as a community because two of our altar servers are having immigration problems. One little boy, JC, had his first hearing the week before last. JC's mother is from El Salvador and has been living here legally under temporary protective status. JC had been living with his grandmother but crossed the border mojado with a group of strangers because he only wanted to be reunited with his mom. Now he is facing the possibility of deportation. The judge, who was shocked at JC's age (he is in elementary school), gave him a future court date in November, hoping (at least this is our guess) that some kind of sensible immigration reform will be passed between now and then. JC is poised, polite, gradually learning English and making top grades in school, in addition to his service to our community.
This week we learned that JD, who serves our community as an altar server, minister of Holy Communion and lector, was picked up after a routine traffic stop for driving without having a license (which he can't get because he is undocumented). JD is college age but, in spite of his youth, he is one of the few people in the community who knows where everything is and is familiar with the liturgy, soup to nuts. Very reliable. The police found out that JD doesn't have papers and he has been in detention ever since. His first hearing is this Tuesday and today the whole community -- both the Spanish and the English Masses -- signed a letter to the judge testifying to his good character. Both Fr. Joe and our pastor Fr. Tim will be writing individual letters of support. Members of the community were present at JC's hearing; members of the community will be present at JD's too. It should also be mentioned that several community members who are lawyers have offered their professional services for these kids.
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Today I was proud to watch as our faith community became "mother" to these two young men. That's the kind of church I want to be part of!
MADRE DE LOS POBRES / MADRE DE NUESTRA AMERICA
Madre de los pobres, de los peregrinos,
te pedimos hoy por América Latina.
Tierra que visitas con los pies descalzos
apretando fuerte un niño entre tus brazos.
América despierta, sobre tus cerros
despunta la luz de una mañana nueva.
Día de la salvación que ya se acerca,
sobre los pueblos que están en tinieblas
ha brillado una gran luz.
Luz de un niño frágil que nos hace fuertes,
luz de un niño pobre que nos hace ricos,
luz de un niño esclavo que nos hace libres.
Esa luz un día nos diste en Belén.
Madre de los pobres, hay mucha miseria
porque falta siempre el pan en muchas casas.
El pan de la verdad, falta en muchas mentes,
el pan del amor, que falta en muchos hombres.
Conoces la pobreza porque la viviste,
alivia la miseria de los cuerpos que sufren.
Arranca el egoísmo que nos empobrece,
para compartir la marcha hacia el Padre.
MOTHER OF THE POOR / MOTHER OF OUR AMERICA
Mother of the poor, of the pilgrims,
we pray to you today for Latin America.
A land that you visit with bare feet
clutching a child in your arms.
Wake up, America, above your hills
breaks forth the light of a new dawn.
The day of salvation is drawing near,
on the people who were in darkness
a great light has shone.
The light of a fragile Child who makes us strong,
The light of a poor Child who makes us rich,
The light of a slave Child who makes us free,
You gave us that light one day in Bethlehem.
Mother of the poor, there is much misery
because many homes always lack bread.
Many minds lack the bread of truth,
Many people lack the bread of love.
You know poverty because you lived it,
ease the misery of suffering bodies.
Tear out the selfishness that empoverishes us,
so we can share the journey to the Father.