‘White’ Christmas 2018
For some time now Loretto Community members from the Motherhouse and Louisville have been meeting the 3 p.m. “Sunday Bus” that comes from Texas with immigrants who are going to various places in the northeastern United States. We bring them water, something to eat, warm clothes or blankets and welcome them for about 20 or 30 minutes. A priest in Louisville, Father Jim Flynn, contacted people, and Alicia Ramirez organized a group from the Motherhouse to meet the immigrants on Sunday while Louisville residents welcomed the travelers other days of the week. I was on the schedule for the Sunday before Christmas. When weather makes the drive from the Motherhouse difficult, Pat Geier meets the bus with other folks from Louisville. On my first bus meeting the Sunday before Christmas, we greeted two women and three children from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement “ICE box” (the wire cages) in Texas. Since I do not have much ability to speak Spanish, my conversation was quite limited. The 7-year-old and I tried to speak and laughed quite a bit but that was short-lived.
I was distracted by a young man (everyone is young when you are 80) who was struggling with the drink dispenser near us. He came over to me and asked what we were doing. As I explained that we met to support the immigrants, he said he knew what it was to be like them, poor and struggling. He wandered away, and in a few minutes came back. A five-dollar bill, one dollar and his coins were all scrunched in his hand. “This is for them,” he said. I was very touched and so were the two women. In with the money was a small slip of paper with his name, “White,” on it. I went over to say, “Thank you, Mr. White.” He chuckled at being called “Mr.” He shared that he had worked as a part-time cleaner in the bus station and now worked part time somewhere else, but he liked to return to the bus station to see friends and was never addressed as “Mr.” This man, on whose face were lines and a map of his struggles, gave me a “White” Christmas by his “pay it forward” gesture. I promised to pray for him and so many who are struggling. I hope you will join me in prayer. May we experience a “White” Christmas all year long filled with hope, peace and a spirit of generosity.