Individuals pray after a JRS/USA chaplain celebrated Mass for detainees at the Service Processing Center for detained undocumented immigrants in El Paso, Texas. (Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)
All: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
Overwhelmed by the weight of the suffering He must carry and the difficulty of his journey, Jesus falls to the ground. He carries with him the anguish of the thousands of vulnerable migrants who risk their lives each year to escape their homeland in hopes of the basic necessities of safety and work. He carries with him the story of Cristina, a migrant JRS met at the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Mexico.
After coming to the desperate realization that she could not afford basic necessities in Mexico, Cristina decided to flee to the U.S. in the hopes of securing work. Her coyote said it would take only five hours to cross the desert, so she brought no food or water for the passage. Her group was caught the second night, and she fell and injured her leg while trying to escape.
The border patrol ran by her, and she was not seen while they gathered the other migrants and began to leave. She knew that she was well hidden, but how would she find her way out of the desert? The guides had run away, she was injured, and had no food or water. She called for help, and when they did not hear her, she struggled to her feet and hobbled after them. She would become one of the 250 migrants who died in the desert in 2010. In 2012, 463 people suffered a similar death.
Lord, we pray for vulnerable migrants that you may grant them strength and safety in their journeys, and we pray for open hearts to understand their desperate motivations.
All: Our Father.