Y HUSBAND AND I didn’t notice that our daughter had overheard our initial reactions to the Motu Proprio. It was July and we were still numb. She asked, “Mom, does this mean we can’t go to our Mass anymore?” We had to explain to her that at this point, we simply didn’t know. It’s now fall and we’re still reeling from what Traditionis Custodes will mean for the life we’ve built. It has been hard to be coherent when worst-case scenarios loom. There’s a lot of good news out there, but this summer has been a kind of lukewarm-limbo.
Pyramids, Border Walls, and Mi Familia
In mid-October, Pope Francis shared 1 a video message to the “Fourth World Meeting of Popular Movements.” The Holy Father’s affection for the “Popular Movements” is clear. He thanks them, looks them in the eyes, he pleads for them, he is a Father to them. He loves them!
Let us stand by the peoples, the workers,
the humble, and let us struggle together with them
so that integral human development
may become a reality.
(Pope Francis, 16 October 2021)
When I first watched the video 2 I skipped the first part to watch the Pope’s message. When I returned to see what I missed, I saw that the first half of the video had the messages from the “Popular Movements.” A man stood in front of Guatemalan ancient Mayan pyramids. A woman stood in front of a more recent border wall. Something ached in my heart.
We are Mexican-American. Some would call us “People of Color.” My husband is an immigrant and my own Catholic roots are deeply rooted in the Spanish-language Rosaries of my grandparents. The heritage stories of my little family include the people of the “Popular Movements.” The Holy Father could have been talking about us. He was talking about us! But we also belong to a community of the Traditional Latin Mass in California. And the Holy Father himself has shaken our world this year. It hasn’t been the pandemic that made us cower. (We’re afraid of getting sick.) It wasn’t the shut downs that made us cower. (We’re afraid of losing our jobs.) Instead, what shook us to our core was this new unknown for the liturgy for and the faith of our children. (We’re afraid they’ll lose the Mass that raised them.) Something ached in my heart.
Why did I find myself yearning that he was talking to me? Why did I hope that the Holy Father would look at our community—at our family—and why did I wish that he’d had shared the same affection for us as he had for the “Popular Movements”? It is true, we live in the first world. But we’re the diaspora of the “Popular Movements”. (Our parish community reflects the demographics of our local area.) Besides, our brothers and sisters in Guatemala and back home in Mexico (and India and the Philippines) deserve the whole heritage of our Catholic faith too.
Maybe my heart ached out of an envy that our Holy Father hadn’t thanked us for holding fast to the Holy Mass. That he hadn’t pleaded for us to have more TLM Masses closer to home.
Maybe my heart ached that he’d show us that he was our Father too.
I admit, I wanted him to love my Latin-praying children. They are not laughing at God. They are not rigid. They aren’t looking back to the past “to seek security.” They’re not even teenagers!
So I Dream…
So I dream. I say dream because “right now our brains and hands are not enough, we also need our hearts and our imagination; we need to dream so that we do not go backwards” (Pope Francis, 16 October 2021). Reader, you also! “Let us dream together, dream among yourselves, dream with others” (Pope Francis, 16 October 2021).
First, watch this video (YouTube).
Then watch this one and imagine and DREAM that one day, the Holy Father will say these words (another video) to us:
Thank you for the video we have just seen. I have read the reflections from the meeting, the testimonies of those who lived in these times of tribulation and anguish, the summary of their desires and their proposals. Thank you. (Pope Francis, 16 October 2021)
Then imagine what I’d tell my daughter, “Mija, look at how the Pope loves us and look at how he thanks us for singing at Mass.”
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is Vatican department of the Roman Curia that attends to the “inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation.” It hosted this fourth meeting in video-conferenced meetings in July and September 2021. It brings together “popular movements” to discuss the impact of COVID on the poorest and most marginalized workers and the dilemmas facing humanity today, including the 3Ts: “shelter, work, and land.” The dicastery has a special focus on “migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture.” It is noteworthy that the meeting was broadcast in Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French. All information can be found here.