Saturday, June 26, 2010


One of my greatest concerns as both the HUDSON RIVER BIRDER and a Roman Catholic missionary priest here in Ulster County is the welfare of our great Hispanic population.  Ulster County has many Hispanic people.  Many have been here for many years and have restaurants, businesses and steady employment.  Others are either Migrant or Temporary Workers who work during the planting and harvest and during the harvest time for grape, apple, peach and other agricultural products.  This weekend one of the groups here at The Mount are the Presentation Sisters of the Eastern USA in their annual assembly.  One of their concerns, which is also mine, is the creation of a more just and practical immigration policy here in the United States.  As one who spent 32 years working outside the US in the Dominican Republic and also as a visitor and student in places like Ecuador and Brazil I am  "pro immigrant".  One of my favorite documentaries is LOS QUE SE QUEDAN ("Those Who Remain") It shows how the Mexican families agonize before the decison of going to work in the USA.  The beauty, simplicity and joy of life in Mexico permeates this movie like the sweetest perfume imaginable.  It is so clear that the choice to come and work in the United States is not a joyful nor easy decision for those "who come" and also for 'THOSE WHO REMAIN BEHIND".  Family life in Mexico is often so very pure, loving and joyous.  It will not be....It NEVER IS...when they come to the States.
And so.....on this weekend when Mexico is challenging Argentina for the World Cup in Soccer we have about 150 families from Ulster, Dutchess and Orange counties coming here for a Day of Family Faith Formation.  They will be greeted and welcomed by the beauty of The Mount: its fields, trees, birds, deer, turkey, its beautiful Hudson River fronting. Hopefully it will remind them of the equal beauties of Mexico, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras....etc, etc that necessity has made them leave.