From Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. It is a time for Hispanics to celebrate their heritage and culture and share it with everyone. How can we celebrate in the midst of everything that is going on this year? It's very scary times for many Hispanics and Latinos living here in the United States. Hispanics are being targeted by those who feel that they don't belong here. Many of them are afraid of going anywhere. Stop believing in the stereotypes and what racists are trying to make us believe. Take time to really get to know each other. To hear each other's stories with love and compassion as Jesus taught us. Look at each other as brothers and sisters created by God. What is Jesus asking us to do at this time?
This past week I felt so depressed with all that is going on that I literally could not leave my house. Seeing so much sadness and hurt from people who were losing love ones to hate and racism became too much. Seeing families being torn apart, broke my heart. I felt as if I couldn't move, I was exhausted. I finally pushed myself to go to Church. During the homily, Msgr. David Gallivan challenged us to do something. We can't be complacent or indifferent. We need to find ways to help change these situations in our world through action. We could call the politicians to make the changes necessary to make all lives in the United States better. We can help each other learn about the beauty of diversity and how to celebrate it. The following are two opportunities coming up to pray and celebrate.
Join us in a celebration at Holy Angels Church in Buffalo, on Sept. 15, with Mass at 10:30 a.m. followed by a reception in the hall. The theme this year is "Moving Forward, Following the Footsteps of Jesus in our World." The Mass is co-sponsored by the diocesan Office of Cultural Diversity and the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York Inc. Join us in praying for all those Hispanics who are suffering in the United States and in our world. We can pray for a church which can work together with the richness of all of its diversity, nationalities, ethnicities, histories, languages and cultures, but united as one in the Body of Christ.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, Pope Francis invites us to celebrate World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The theme is, "It's not Just about Migrants." Here in our diocese we invite you to come at 6 p.m. and pray with us at SS. Columba & Brigid Church in Buffalo. We will begin with the rosary followed by a Holy Hour prayer vigil. With this theme Pope Francis wants to highlight. It is not just about the migrants, but about our fears. He challenges us to not let fear deprive us of meeting others and in the other to meet Christ himself. It's about charity, through works of charity, we demonstrate our faith. It's about humanity and being compassionate toward others. It's about not excluding anyone. It's about putting the last first, the true motto of a Christian is "The last shall be first." It's about the whole person and it's about building the City of God. Take time to read and reflect on the whole message from Pope Francis on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. It can be found on the Vatican website.