Message from the Pastor

 

Living Our Mission: Accompany One Another in Christ
This week's pastoral column is written by Kate Tromble, Pastoral Associate for Social Justice

Moses named his son with Zipporah, Gershom, explaining that the name meant “I am a stranger in a foreign land.” (Ex. 2:22) Moses was indeed a stranger, a Hebrew in Pharaoh’s Egypt. We might even say he was our first unaccompanied minor – placed by his mother in a papyrus basket and left among the reeds at the river’s edge in hopes that he would be found by someone that could provide him a better life. (Exodus 2:1-10)

 Jesus, though accompanied by his mother and father, also spent much of his childhood as a refugee in a foreign land.  You’ll recall that upon his birth Herod ordered his death, forcing Joseph, Mary and Jesus to flee in the middle of the night from the manger in Bethlehem for Egypt. They remained in Egypt until the death of Herod years later. (Matthew 2:1-15)

 The Bible contains many other stories of migration and flight. From these scripture passages, among others, evolved the belief that we should welcome the stranger, particularly the stranger in need. For you never know who that stranger might be. Very possibly, in that stranger, you are seeing the face of Christ.

Our Catholic faith continues to emphasize the importance of welcoming the stranger, the migrant and the refugee. But in the politically polarized world in which we live, sometimes it is hard to separate the stranger, the migrant or the refugee from the interest groups, the politicians, and those with an agenda (be it pro- or anti-immigration). It is rare that we get the opportunity to actually accompany someone on their migrant journey. But doing so allows us to separate the child of God from the rhetoric. Ask any parishioner who has spent time with the Cheikho family or in the Kino Border Initiative’s comedor and they will surely tell you no one’s migrant experience was grounded in making a political statement. Rather, they were grounded in faith, necessity, courage, and love of their family.

 We understand each other and our experiences through stories and conversation, not sound bites. But we don’t often have an opportunity to hear or share our stories. This month, however, you do. Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker who in 2011 revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. Mr. Vargas will join us at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall on October 24 from 6-8pm for a conversation with Georgetown professor Marcia Chatelain about his childhood, his realization that he was undocumented, and his experiences living as an undocumented American.

 This evening is being co-hosted by Holy Trinity and Georgetown University. It is a chance not only to hear Mr. Vargas’ story, but to share ours with each other and with Georgetown’s students.

For further information or to RSVP, please contact Kate Tromble (ktromble@trinity.org or (202) 903-2809).