We walked into Mass right as it began, and the church was full of Mexicans.
Which wasn’t a surprise since this was a Spanish Mass and Clovis is a big cattle city. Who works in all those cattle plants now? Mexicans. They do jobs that you and I generally don’t want to do.
I grew up in south-central Texas. Katie grew up on the New Mexico border. We both know a decent bit of Spanish (pace Gerardo) and have been to more Spanish and bilingual Masses than we can count. So we didn’t feel uncomfortable, even though it was clear that we were the one gringo family in the church.
We not only felt comfortable; we felt even closer to these Mexican Catholics than we do to many other secular Americans.
Because we share the Catholic Faith with them. We worshiped together at Holy Mass in the universal Church. Most of them were first-generation Americans. They were born in Mexico. But they found their way over here, maybe legally, maybe illegally, to make a good life for themselves. And they found the jobs that they could, even in stinky cities like Clovis that smell like feedlots and concentrated manure.
And I see in them perhaps the one hope for the United States. They aren’t (yet?) contracepting away most of their children. They haven’t (yet?) abandoned their faith for secularism and relativism. It is possible, perhaps just so, to catechize, evangelize, and form them to become the most powerful force for the New Evangelization that the world has yet seen.
I don’t know how to do this. I don’t even know if it is what I’m called to do. But I know lots of people who are, people at my old parish who are pouring their lives into the formation of Mexican-American Catholics.
This is another hallmark of the Catholic Church: it’s universality. Anywhere in the world, in whatever language, we are united in full communion with the successor of St. Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. So I say, bring in the Mexicans. Reform the immigration system. And may they revitalize our country with their faith.