Visiting the homeless and a women’s shelter-1/19-20

This weekend we worked with an organization called “Hope for the Poor”. We visited a park near the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Saturday. It was an interesting place: full of pilgrim groups having picnics and forming up to walk the last few blocks to the Basilica, and also full of homeless people. The staff at “Hope for the Poor” were there with food, and had gathered people together to eat. We brought a couple soccer balls and played soccer with the kids, tried to juggle the ball with the men, or just sat and talked. Andrew Rauenbeuhler, who was an EMT before coming to seminary, was ready to bandage wounds, but mostly just checked blood pressure. A lot of the men have little cubbies in the arches under the remains of an old aqueduct, and one of them, Luis, invited Br David and Jake to come see his place. He described all of its features and insisted we take some pictures.

Andrew checks blood pressure in the park
Jake and Luis.

On Sunday we took a bus to a government-run home for women. The women living in the home are there for a broad range of reasons: some are elderly and no longer able to care for themselves, some have disabilities, all of them don’t have family to care for them for a variety of reasons, which is the normal course of events here. We visited with many of the women out in the courtyards, then had Mass in the cafeteria and adoration with music and some guided prayer while several seminarians went with regular volunteers to bring Communion into the wards for those not well enough to attend Mass. John McFadden played a guitar borrowed from the sisters we’re staying with, and Brother David lead the prayer with reflections in Spanish. Afterwards we did a lot of helping ladies move around in their wheelchairs, including some wheelchair dancing with a few of them to the merengue music piped in.

In a big reversal, right after visiting the ladies in the care home we took a bus downtown for a great big lunch. Many of us stayed downtown after to visit the Cathedral and the Zocalo, or central square. Downtown was packed with all sorts of people enjoying the beautiful weather on Sunday afternoon, and we saw lots of performers, both buskers trying to earn a little money and more formal groups like native dance teams and an elementary age drum and bugle group sponsored by the Federal Police. It was quite an afternoon.

Almost everybody at lunch downtown.

This week we are mostly spending time with Our Lady in prayer at the Shrine. Please continue to remember us in your prayers, and know that you’ll be in ours!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

-Jake Epstein