From the “city of the winds”, we, the Lay Claretians of Chicago, wish to share with you the way we are living the Mercy Year step by step.
On Saturday 7 November, we hold a retreat with our adviser Fr. Alex Gaitán. Fr. Bruce also attended and told us about the General Council the CMF had in Rome and handed us the Council´s final document. We had moments of meditation and praying, and then shared a little snack with the community.
Following the rhythm of the Advent celebrations, we had a twelve-day praying to Virgin of Guadalupe with the reflections of the Lectio Divina and the home praying of the Holy Rosary. At the same time, at the parish level, there was a retreat on 5 December with the focus on the Merciful Father God.
Seeking justice for the immigrant, workshops were held, at which various members from different suburbs and city neighbourhoods met.
Participation in the walk of Posada Arquidiocesana: we started with the Holy Rosary of the Immigrant at the entrance of the detention centre of the City of Chicago, departing later to the prison and requesting lodging to reflect about the existing rejection situations. This all takes place at the city centre of Chicago, precisely at the time people are getting into work, stopping the traffic and supporting the singing with a car with a megaphone. We walk towards the University of De Paul using the same strategy until arriving at the St. Peter´s Church, where we finally were given accommodation. We ended up with a breakfast.
We celebrated a national migration week with activities in different parishes, in an atmosphere of praying and masses for the opening and closing of the week. Members of the Society of Saint Toribio Romo participated at these Eucharists (Saint Toribio Romo is a Mexican martyr of the time of the Cristeros who did not abandon his people and was killed before celebrating the Eucharist).
For the first time, the festivity of Saint Ines of Bohemia was celebrated with the Saint Mass and triduum. Three Lay claretians took part at the parish reception.
On Thursday 10 March, we participated in an initiative to invite naturalised voters at an early voting. Thank God, we took a 40-people bus with Project Resurrection to the voting centre of the City Hall. There was a press conference, at which various Spanish politicians that support immigrants talked.
We continue participating and informing people about the executive order of the President on the benefits that our undocumented brothers could benefit from. The initiatives are at the Federal Court: we pray the God of Life that this is approved in the month of June. It will be a historical milestone.
We attended a brief conference of Fr Carlos María Galle on the People´s Theology. Author of a theological best-seller “God lives in the city”, he is considered an influential theologian of the Pope´s circle.
We thank God that allows us to be close to the most vulnerable, accompanying them and walking alongside them. The situation is difficult, especially now due to the campaigns against immigrants launched by political parties. But our Guardian who does not sleep, the Holy Spirit is always at our side, showing us the way. Let us pray for each other to continue being firm in Jesus´ mission, holding the hand of Maria´s Immaculate Heart.
Concepción Rodríguez sc (CHICAGO)