Holy spirit

“The Holy Spirit brings them”, declares a parishioner at the feast of migrant families

WASHINGTON, DC – The pews of Holy Trinity Catholic Church are home to some of Washington’s most powerful political players.

From time to time, the president passes by the parish, as does the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, members of Congress, and diplomats.

But on December 11, the church’s pastor, Jesuit Father Kevin Gillespie, told a group of migrant families gathered for a mass to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe that “in some ways you are the most important families, children and mothers and fathers, throughout our parish.

The migrant families, their journey, their link with the parishioners who shared their joys, their sorrows and their challenges in a new land, were exposed during the celebration which began with mass followed by a “Festival of migrant families. “.

“You bring the Son of the Blessed Mother, Jesus, in a very important way,” Gillespie told them.

Families have come together to receive a blessing from the pastor as well as their “mentors,” parishioners who are part of the Holy Trinity Migrant Team that kicks in whenever an emergency involving migrants arises. .

“It has become a ministry,” said Jeanne Rossomme, who is part of the team. Catholic Information Service.

Whenever a case arises involving a migrant family or someone in need of accommodation, food, work or transportation, the team’s dozen parishioners begin a flurry of fire. emails and SMS, looking for help.

“We feel like the Holy Spirit is bringing them to us in one way or another,” Rossomme said. “Whenever we need something, we put it out there and it gets delivered. Someone comes forward.

The Holy Trinity effort began nearly five years ago with lay members like Rossomme looking for a way to do something to alleviate the suffering of the migrants whose article they were reading.

Rossomme became involved after she and her husband returned home from a parish trip to learn about the plight of migrants at the border and felt compelled to help in some way. When the demand to provide accommodation for someone who had fled Nicaragua arrived, they welcomed the migrant into their home.

“We had a community behind us so that’s what really helps,” she said. “It’s not just you.

By bringing together various resources, the migrant team was able to help the person find work, legal advice, and provide food and transportation, and eventually the person became independent. Now he is helping others go through similar situations.

“We get more than we give,” said Rossomme. “You see the incredible hardships these families faced and see their faith in it all. It’s really inspiring… the love and joy they give back, despite all the trauma they’ve been through.

The team’s work has been a blessing for his family, said Etienne Mbala Cimanga, forced to flee his home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with his wife and children in 2016 due to political and other issues. Even if they have applied for asylum, their case is still pending.

“We wanted to be here for the safety of our children and for our own safety,” he said. “It’s so scary, scary, and you can’t even organize anything long term because you don’t even know what tomorrow will be like, what it’s going to be like.”

But the sense of kinship offered by parishioners kept his family alive, he said.

“We are very grateful to have the Holy Trinity Catholic Church supporting us especially during this difficult time,” Mbala said. SNC. “Simply amazing, and we thank the Lord for it all. “

In the pews, her daughter, a toddler named Blessing, applauded during the recession hymn “La Guadalupana” in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

After the mass, the families, some Gabonese, other Guatemalan and Honduran, gathered in the parish hall, shared a meal and met and with the parishioners, while their children played together.

Rossomme and other members of the migrant team cheered as the children let off steam on a piñata.

“It’s been a great journey of faith, I think for myself, and I think I can say it, for a lot of people in the group and the community,” she said. “We have this bond with each other. Especially during COVID there is this feeling of community, of being a part of something light and good as opposed to all darkness. “