Tag Archives: Shrine

Restless for Peace

As a group we went on a desert hike. We walked along a path taken by migrants into the United States.

The experience I had on this hike is more explanatory in description than any analysis I could give in this blog.

We crawled under barbed wire. We went up and down a rock wall. It was a grueling approximately two mile hike and we had plenty of water and rests along the way. We came across water stations where groups had left gallons of water and canned beans for migrants to consume.

On the walk we saw articles of clothing left behind.

We finally made it to a shrine for migrants where there were crosses, rosaries, and other keepsakes. There were also jugs of water hanging from trees so that the ravens could not get them. Here we sat down with the leader of this hike and reflected. During this reflection we were given a prayer for the migrant. This prayer was a call to action. It explained how we all could work for peace. Though we were praying to God to accomplish these tasks, there was an underlying tone that each of these things can be accomplished by humanity and more specifically God working through us. This is why this prayer made sense to me more than really anything else we had talked about up to this point, I felt like this could be accomplished and I could help.

The prayer follows:

Creator, full of love and mercy, whose own Son became a refugee and had no place to cal his own; look with mercy and compassion on our brothers and sisters who today are fleeing from poverty, homelessness, and hunger.

Protect them as they suffer mistreatments and humiliations on their journeys, are labeled as dangerous, and marginalized for being foreigners. Make them be respected and valued for their dignity. Touch with Your Goodness and Active Concern the many who see them pass.

Care for their families until they return to their homes, not with broken hearts but rather with hopes fulfilled. Inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts; and guide all the people of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in you Reign of justice and love. Let it Be.

Arizona desert
Arizona desert

Part of our reflection at this migrant shrine was discussing a young woman who had died during the journey to the U.S. not far from that spot. John (our hike leader) ended our time at the shrine, after telling this young woman’s story, by saying may she rest in peace and may we be restless for peace.

This experience was a call to action, that I may be restless for peace.

Walking in the footsteps of warriors

Yesterday we made our way up to Tucson. We interviewed a lady named Isabel who had quite a lot to say. She was a public attorney for 37 years. After her interview she took us to shrine in a neighborhood and it was a really unique experience. Then we went to IN-N-OUT burger. I’m not going to lie, I think that IN-N-OUT is pretty overrated. Some of us came to the conclusion that it’s over hyped because it’s only in the south.

Shrine in Tucson, Arizona
Shrine in Tucson, Arizona

Later that day Carol, Nichole, and I went to Phoenix to pick up a lady that we are interviewing down in Nogales.  There and back it was 7 hours in a car on top of the 3 hours earlier in the day.  It was a fun car ride though and it was great getting to know everyone better.

Today, after my 5 hours of sleep, we set off to meet a man who took us along a migrant trail. We hiked for about 4 hours and the experience was unreal. He is a part of No More Deaths and they set out water and beans along the migrant trails. The focal point of the journey was a small shrine where migrants who are crossing the border put rosaries and pictures to commemorate and pray.  I couldn’t help myself to just walk in silence the whole time back.  I couldn’t imagine walking those “trails” in 100 plus degree heat while being afraid of someone chasing you.  These migrants are true warriors.  Their strength is incredible and the hearts are filled with faith. This experience is one of my most memorable so far and it’s hard to put into words.

Migrant Shrine
Migrant Shrine

Later this afternoon we met up with Luis Parra, an attorney in Nogales, Arizona. He is currently working on a high profile case that will likely make it to the Supreme Court. The case involves a US border agent fatally shooting a Mexican kid on the Mexico side through the wall. The victims name is Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. Luis took us to the site and explained everything. It was quite a sight to be able to hear from the family’s attorney what happened. I really enjoyed Luis’ company. We talked while we were walking around Nogales, Sonora and we also sat next to each other at dinner.

I just got back from picking Nico up at a Burger King in downtown Nogales.  He went back to Omaha for a wedding and his shuttle from Tucson just arrived in Nogales.  No better way to end the night than picking up my brother man!