Catholic Vancouver January 11, 2018
Latin American farmers get Feliz Navidad from parishes
VANCOUVER—Spending Christmas away from home was difficult for Guatemalan farmer Guillermo Flores Olivares.
Instead of ringing in the holidays with his five children back home, Olivares was working on a farm in the Lower Mainland. For the last three years, he’s spent 11 months at a time away from his family, missing Christmases, Easters, and birthdays to support them.
It’s hard-working farmers like Olivares who inspire volunteers to host an annual Christmas Mass and dinner for hundreds of migrant farm workers growing B.C. crops.
“It is the most wonderful ministry that I have ever worked with,” said volunteer Lorraine Hermesmann, who helped more than 300 Latin American workers spending the holidays in Vancouver attend Mass, enjoy a turkey dinner, and receive free clothing and prizes at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Dec. 23.
The farmers, who come to Canada through a temporary foreign worker program, arrived at the Vancouver celebration from job sites in Ladner, Langley, Abbotsford, and Maple Ridge. Among them was Gustavo Hernandez Ortiz, who told The B.C. Catholic he came to Canada because there wasn’t much for him in Guatemala.
Ortiz has spent about two years working in this country and said he’s grateful to the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s ministry to farm workers.
Six parishes run outreach programs to temporary farm workers year-round: Our Lady of Sorrows, Precious Blood, Sacred Heart (Delta), St. Ann’s, St. Joseph’s (Langley), and St. Luke’s. Several others also host Masses in Spanish.
"The Child of Bethlehem gives us a great gift to celebrate his birth: He brings us a spiritual energy – it is called divine grace – that helps us not to sink in our fatigues, in our sorrows," said Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, in Spanish, during his homily for the farm workers.
"The birth of Jesus brings us the good news that we are loved immensely by God and that he is with us and our families this Christmas."
The evening closed with a free raffle, prizes including soccer balls and a bicycle, and a live band playing Spanish tunes including, of course, Feliz Navidad.
With files from Josephine Okunubi.
All photos can be viewed here.
Slain student active with Knights hailed as hero in Denver shooting
DENVER, Colo. (CNA)—When Sara Haynes heard about the shooting at STEM High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado on Tuesday, she...
Pope permits pilgrimages to Medjugorje as apparitions continue to be studied
MEDJUGORJE, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (CNA) —Pope Francis has given the green light for Catholics to organize pilgrimages to...
Vandals target St. Joseph’s Church in Mission
A vandalism attack on St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Mission over the weekend has left parishioners shocked. Churchgoers...
High school founded by former NFL star aims to make virtuous students
MINNEAPOLIS (CNA)—Not everyone who goes to high school will go to college, the founders of a new Minnesota high school say, but...
Gunmen kill six during Mass in Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO (CNA)—A group of gunmen burned down a Catholic Church during Sunday Mass and killed at least six...
Nun shatters misconceptions about cloistered life
Living in a cloistered environment completely dismantled Sister Cecilia’s predictions. Sister Cecilia of Our Lady of the...
Marches for Life mark 50 years of abortion in Canada
OTTAWA —Marches of Life in Ottawa and in a number of provincial capitals, including Toronto, marked the 50th anniversary of...