Christmas in the Streets

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– December was a month of great activity for the Latino community. Its religious activity is marked by a great variety of national devotions whose common denominator has to be found in the Blessed Virgin Mary, venerated under many names, in Christmas, the Holy Family, and the Magi. Latinos find in these religious activities their identity, and from them they draw the necessary strength to face the trials of their daily life.

“Our Lady of Journey” was the song that accompanied their spiritual journey during the month of December and its many festive celebrations that will find their conclusion on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on January 13th. Every evening, groups of families gathered together in one of their homes to pray the Rosary, to read God’s Word, and to ask for God’s help. Thus they celebrated the Christmas Novena, immersed in the warmth and usual fervor, like Mary and Joseph looking for a place to give birth to Jesus.

On Christmas Day, at noon, there was a public show of their faith, the faith of a people walking in the midst of a society closed behind the doors of conformism and cold toward Christian values. A thousand Latinos walked in the streets in a “live” representation of the Nativity, the great mystery of our redemption.

To curious spectators, the whole thing was just a colorful show worthy of a quick picture. To the faithful Latinos, it was the public proclamation of their Catholic faith and heritage.

Father Paul took the opportunity to say his good-bye to all of them after four years of pastoral ministry among them. He is going to continue his ministry in the streets of Michigan with other people who want to embrace and experience the Emmanuel, the “God-with-us”, the only God who brings salvation.

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