My dear sisters and brothers,
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 the poor, to the lepers and to all he met no matter their status or need.
This has been a challenging year at the Casa Franciscan Mission with keeping our Franciscan hearts opened to the many migrants who find their way to our doorstep. Some have walked many miles from jungle to desert; some have come hanging onto the outside of the infamous train known as La Bestia which we wrote about in a 2016 newsletter. 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.
The amazing Mission staff find miraculous ways to feed a few more mouths each day and to be the Good Samaritan to these strangers with not only food but medical care, a clean bed for a night or two, a shower, clean clothes, a telephone call to a family member who does not know if they are dead or alive and safety and hope. Some migrants are trying to go North but many are trying to go home.
We had a group of 50 plus farmworkers from Guerrero travel approximately 1,300 miles to where they were promised employment in the fields. When it came time, the landlord did not pay what he had promised and they were stranded. They left the worksite and, once again, we received and answered the call for compassion and justice. After feeding the group (the soup was extra watery that day with 50 more mouths) we were able to negotiate with the landowner to, at least, provide a bus to take them back to Guerrero – home.
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 send to help us to help these vulnerable migrants no matter your politics. Your own blessings will surely be multiplied. If you identify your gift specifically for the migrants, we will send you a Tau cross with a note explaining its meaning so all will know of your Franciscan spirit and humanity. The crosses were a gift to us.
With the love of St. Francis and peace and all good,
Fr. Tommy King, OFM