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Memories of a Trip with Ramon: Words Spoken at a Cathedral of Hope

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Good morning Cathedral!  I think it is appropriate for me to tell you a little about my week on the same day that we are remembering and celebrating the life of Matthew Shepard.  When Matthew Shepard died, there were so many of us who promised “never again.”  We declared, “When we meet situations of injustice we are going to stand up and do something.  Never again will we let such moments pass by without action.”  This week I had the tremendous privilege of standing with you as we refused to let a moment of injustice pass us by without action.  You see last week…Cathedral of Hope, Congregacion Latina and Hope for Peace and Justice stood together to make a difference in a young man’s life.  It all began when Father Alberto called us up and asked us to come to an apartment in Carrollton, Texas.  When we went into the apartment, we found a 28-year-old young man named Ramon dying of bone cancer.  Ramon had lived and worked in this country since he was 18-years-old without papers.  In so doing, Ramon paid taxes, stayed out of trouble and committed himself to performing all of the duties of a citizen…unfortunately due to his immigration status, Ramon was not able to receive the benefits of having done that.  Ramon was also not able to access the quality of healthcare that many of us are able to access.  There were other pieces of the story that only exacerbated the injustice that Ramon faced.  Ramon’s father was desperate to help him get back to see his mother and brothers in Guadalajara, Mexico before he died.  As we sat in that apartment, a number of us tried to figure out how we could help this young man get to Mexico.  We asked our selves over and over, “How can we make this happen?”  We decided that this was definitely something that we needed to do.  We needed to find the money to get this young man to his family.  We knew that a cousin was going to fly with him…then that fell through due to her passport being out of date.  Father Alberto looked around and declared, “Who’s going to go to Mexico?  This young man needs us.”  I kept on thinking the same thing to myself…”Who is going to go?”  Then out of nowhere, I heard someone say, “I’ll go!”  I thought, “Who in the hell said that?”  Then I realized it was me.  The next thing I know, I met Ramon and his father at the airport.  Then, Ramon and I flew to Guadalajara together.  Ramon was barely able to move and required constant care.  When we arrived, I got to see him encounter his brothers for the first time in ten years.  It was really beautiful.  Throughout it all, I kept think about the beauty of the confluence of events that brought Cathedral of Hope, Congregacion Latina and Hope for Peace and Justice together to work hard and allow Ramon to die with his mother and family.  This confluence of events produced a moment of unbelievable brilliance and beauty.  Together we declared, “Never again!” and praise God we meant it.  Now, together we must pray for Ramon and his family and be ready for the next time someone needs our help.  Until then, may God continue to bless this beautiful congregation.  Amen.

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