Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rain of Insults

Christ Passion Play, Mexico
by Richard Vignola
The Undocumented

by Alberto Blanco•
Translated by Livia Soto
for William Carlos Williams

in El Paso
at dusk
I saw (smelled)
ten thousand undocumented workers.
They came from the Chihuahua desert
to harvest the crops.
They filled the city parks
to sleep.
Their guardian angels,
their wings trembling
after a rain of insults.
They left the field open
for the agents of the Border Patrol.
(trans. by Lila Soto)
•Born in Mexico City on February 18, 1951, Alberto Blanco is considered one of Mexico's most important poets.  

Nearing the end of their four day Pilgrimage, Napa Institute Pilgrims listened to the sobering facts presented by Dr. Francisco Porras Sanchez of the Instituto Mora.  He spoke of the plight of migrants fleeing into Mexico from Central and South American countries, "They are becoming targets of kidnapping, torture, blackmail and exploitation."

Dr. Francisco Porras Sanchez, Instituo Moro
Appropriately, after hearing Dr. Sanchez' talk, Pilgrimage attendees themselves journeyed to the feet of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated at the altar beneath St. Juan Diego's Tilma.
Celebration of The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica, Mexico City

The Loving Sacrifice of the Son of Mary, Himself a target of torture, blackmail and exploitation, was remembered.

Christ Passion Play, Mexico
by Richard Vignola
Jesus' words to His disciples recounted by Doctor of the Church, St. Catherine of Siena come to mind,

"It is not hatred but special love that makes Me send you out to be persecuted and martyred by the world.  I love you with the same love with which my Father has loved Me, and because He loved me with a special love He sent Me to suffer the shameful pain of the Most Holy Cross."

O My Jesus, Forgive Us Our Sins!

Crucifixion of Jesus
Nurio, Michoacan Mexico


Friday, September 27, 2013

Embracing Hearts!

Napa Institute Pilgrims were served a smorgasbord of Faith and Reason on their second day, (Thursday, September 26, 2013), of a four day Pilgrimage and Conference in Mexico City!

Hard hitting talks by premier speakers in the fields of Law, Migration and Immigration Reform stretched participants Minds, Hearts and Spirits while engaging them to possibly think about issues in different and new ways.

"In heaven, there are no geopolitical limitations.", said The Most Reverend Emilio Carlos Berlie, Archbishop of Yucatan while reflecting upon his pastoring the flock of a migrant people particular to his time as the Bishop of Tijuana Mexico.

"Reform must come through a reasoned approach with respect to the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law.", said Daniel Garza Executive Director of LIBRE Initiative during his address to pilgrimage attendees.

Alfonso Aguilar of the American Principles Project covered a wide range of topics from Immigration Reform in the US Congress to the alarming Abortion rates of Hispanics in America.

Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver, Luis Soto, brought Pilgrims close to the source of the Pilgrimage by stating, "We have to change the way we see Hispanics in the United States...through the example of Blessed Juan Diego, as evangelizers of a culture."

And evangelize Juanito did!

Anchored by Our Lady's words to St. Juan Diego, Napa Institute Pilgrims are reminded to place all the disturbances, fears, worries, sicknesses and afflictions of their lives and those of the world in the crossed arms of Our Mother.

"Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing.  Do not let your countenance, your heart, be disturbed.  Do not fear this sickness, nor anything that is sharp or hurtful.  Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?  Are you not under my shadow and protection?  Am I not the source of your joy?  Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms?  Do you need anything more?  Let nothing else worry or disturb you."*
*These were the words of Our Lady of Gudalupe to St. Juan Diego, a young man whose heart was very troubled because of the illness of his uncle Juan Bernardino.

Bishop Juan de Zumaragga discovering the Miraculous image of 
Our Lady of Guadalupe on the Tilma of St. Juan Diego

Luis Soto, Director of Hispanic Ministry
Archdiocese of Denver

Daniel Garza, LIBRE

Archbishop Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzara
Archbishop of Yucatan

Pope Francis I and Our Lady of Gudalupe!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses.....

The Flower Carrier (Cargador de Flores), Diego Rivera 1935 

On Wednesday, September 25th in Mexico City, Napa Institute Pilgrims from America, Canada and Mexico convened to hear Immigration Conference speakers John Klink, Archbishop Gomez and Patrick Slim speak about the pressing issues related to Immigration and the Roman Catholic Church's closeness to Immigrants from her beginning.

Personal reflections by Patrick Slim of his grandparents emigrating from Lebanon to Mexico, along with John Klink's reminder of the trials willingly faced by The Holy Family when fleeing their home and finding refuge in Egypt; and Archbishop Gomez' instructions of the Church in Mexico's history "in defense of Christian freedom and the Christian family" are lessons where, "We have a lot to learn from the Church in Mexico-how to suffer and love."

The burdens carried by generations of immigrant peoples, as John Klink reminded Conference attendees, was shared as well by God-Incarnate, Christ Himself.  To lessen the load, today's Conference Speakers contextualized the challenges of the hardships of Migration within the framework of the Family.

Wrapping up the day, yet celebrating the start of the Pilgrimage, The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated at the Parish of The Holy Child of Peace.

May Jesus, Mary and Joseph Pray For Us! 

Mexican Retablo Painting On Tin:  The Holy Family c. 1900
The Most Reverend Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, California

   Patrick Slim, Chairman of America Movil

John Klink, President of the International Migration Commmission

Monday, September 23, 2013

Napa Institute: September 2013 Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Conference on Immigration

“By fortune, am I worthy of what I hear? Maybe I dream? Am I awakening? Where am I? Perhaps I am now in the terrestrial paradise which our elders had told us about? Perhaps I am now in heaven?”                                 

                                                 Saint Juan Diego 



On September 25, 2013 over forty lucky Pilgrims of the Napa Institute ( will embark on a journey to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe ( in Mexico City (

With support by notable prelates as the Spiritual Leader of the Pilgrimage Most Reverend, Jose H. Gomez (, Archbishop of Los Angeles, CA and Most Rev. Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzaran, Archbishop of Yucatan (, Pilgrims will perhaps find themselves asking the same questions as Our Lady's most humble servant, Juan.

"Juanito, the most humble of my sons, where are you going?"

Though asked of Saint Juan over 400 years ago (, Napa Institute Pilgrims might find Our Lady similarly speaking directly to them.  "Where are you going?" 

Combined with Spiritual nourishment, Pilgrims will tackle the complex and challenging questions of Immigration.  

Aided in discussion and dialogue by well known specialists on the topic of migration including, John M. Klink, President, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)( and Alfonso Aguilar, Head of Hispanic Outreach, American Principles Project (, the Napa Institute will continue to explore through faith and reason the extremely important questions on Immigration that touch our every day.  Where are we going?

"Go and put forth all your effort."

Fulfilled and renewed by this important Pilgrimage, "under the feet of Our Lady", Eduardo Verastegui (, the Napa Institute hopes to continue sharing the may graces received by its Patroness.

"Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted.  Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort."

Tenere un buen viaje!