My dear sisters and brothers,
One Saturday afternoon as our staff was preparing to close for the weekend, a young man staggered in – bloody, bruised and dehydrated. He had fallen off the infamous train called La Bestia or the death train that migrants ride to escape the horrors in their countries. The tracks are across from the Mission and he is not the first to find our doorstep. Our social worker never hesitated to follow the teachings of Christ by rendering care and then taking him to the hospital even though her own family was at home, waiting for her.
Each year as the Transitus (passing from this life to the next) of St. Francis approaches, I reflect on my own life and wonder at times if I am living it with a true Franciscan heart. St. Francis opened his heart to all no matter their status or need – the poor, the lepers, yes, to all.
Sometimes it is difficult to open our hearts when we already have so many poor to serve but the amazing Mission staff finds miraculous ways to feed a few more mouths each day. With your help they are the Good Samaritans providing safety, food, medical care, a bed, a shower, clothes, a telephone call to a tearful family member who learns their loved one is alive. Some migrants are trying to go North but others are trying to go home.
Some have walked miles from jungle to desert or have come hanging onto La Bestia. Some have lost loved ones along the way; some have been beaten and robbed. They are all suffering greatly and all thinking of those they left behind whom they may never see again.
God does not care if these migrants are going North or South but He does care if we are showing our Franciscan hearts on their journey, which in a way, is also our journey. In honor of the Transitus of St. Francis, please take this opportunity to emulate him. Dig deep down into your wallets for anything that you are able to give to help us to help these vulnerable migrants, no matter your politics. Your own blessings will surely be multiplied.
With the love of St. Francis and peace and all good,
Fr. Tommy, OFM