Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In the news: Gutierrez, Menendez and Ramirez

Three news items of note:

1. Yesterday, congressman Luis Gutierrez (Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus task force on immigration) along with a coalition of Asian American, African American, Latino and Anglo congressmen and women, introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR ASAP).
Read the New York Times report:

2. Three Catholic bishops who head committees on Migration, Domestic Policy and Pro-life Activities, sent a letter to senators urging support of the Menendez Amendment in Health Care Reform. Proposed by Rep. Robert Menendez, the amendment would give states the option to lift the five-year waiting period for legal immigrants to obtain Medicaid coverage. Download and read the statement in PDF format:

3. Indictments were unsealed yesterday against three police officers in Shenandoah, Pa. including the chief -- thanks in large part to Gov. Ed Rendell -- on obstruction of justice and other charges in connection with the beating death of Luis Ramirez, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, in July 2008. Read the terrific blog report the Southern Poverty Law Center put together:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A feast day like no other


The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is nearly upon us.

Want the full Misa de Gallo experience as you'd have in Mexico or Latin America? Try St. Isidore Church in Quakertown, were the Mass begins on Friday and ends on Saturday. Yes, that's right, a midnight Mass with mariachis and roses and all the pageantry that accompanies this feast. The Mass will be celebrated by our Vicar for Hispanic Catholics, Msgr. Hugh Shields.

Not quite up for a midnight Mass? Try the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on Saturday, Dec. 12 instead. The Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali from 7 to 11 p.m. The usual crowd from St. Thomas of Aquinas parish is expected to absolutely fill the Cathedral. This promises to be spectacular. I don't know if there will be matachines -- also known as the "soldiers of the Virgin"-- with their amazing outfits (those are matachines in this post's lead image) but if there are, you are in for a treat

Nearly every parish across the Archdiocese that has a Spanish-language Mass will celebrate a Mass for Guadalupe's feast day: Immaculate Conception in Levittown, Our Lady of Fatima in Bensalem, St. Patrick in Norristown, Visitation in the city, Mision Sta. Maria in Avondale and St. Cecilia in Coatesville are the ones I know about, among many others I'm sure.

Truly, if you've never experienced this feast day Mass at a church with Latino congregants, you must. Veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe is joyful and festive and heartfelt -- and you'll never talk about pews empty of people again.
Next up in the Latino trifecta of the Christmas season: Las posadas -- which start Dec. 16 and run through Dec. 24.

(Photos by Sarah Webb and Joanna Lightner for the Catholic Standard & Times)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

At Christmas -- no gifts for children of immigrants?

My friend Tristan gave me the heads up about this (which I find utterly unbelievable):

"They don't claim to know who's been naughty or nice, but some Houston charities are asking whether children are in the country legally before giving them toys.

In a year when more families than ever have asked for help, several programs providing Christmas gifts for needy children require at least one member of the household to be a U.S. citizen. Others ask for proof of income or rely on churches and schools to suggest recipients.

The Salvation Army and a charity affiliated with the Houston Fire Department are among those that consider immigration status, asking for birth certificates or Social Security cards for the children."

Wow, there's some Christmas spirit showing. Read the rest of the Houston Chronicle's article by clicking here.

UPDATE: The Salvation Army has rescinded its policy, go to: