Friday, July 18, 2014

Special mass for the migrant workers

STURGIS, MI — A migrant worker camp near U.S. 12 outside Sturgis welcomed a special guest this week.

Bishop Paul J. Bradley of Kalamazoo celebrated Mass for the workers and local Hispanic community.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo chooses a different migrant worker camp within its nine counties every year for a Mass that is celebrated by the bishop.

This is the fifth year Bradley has celebrated the annual Mass for migrant workers.
"Their schedules are so long, it makes hard for them to do anything but work. So it is great for them to know that the church is here for them," Bradley said.

"Those migrant workers, hard workers, always inspire me with the depth of their faith," Bradley said. "They are strong in their faith and whatever circumstances they have to deal with, they are never far from God, and their faith is a part of who they are."

Fanny Tabares, the associate director of multicultural and Hispanic ministry for the Diocese, is the organizer of the Mass.

Tabares has been working with migrant workers in Southwest Michigan for nearly two decades.

She said it is very hard to those workers to be away from their families for a very long period of time. She wanted them to help them feel like family here.

"They are a part of our community," Tabares said. "We love them. They are not here alone." 
Abraham Guzman of Veracruz, Mexico, came to Michigan about two weeks ago by himself as a first year migrant worker.

Guzman said he wakes up at 4:30 a.m. each day and spends more than 11 hours working on corn fields in the surrounding areas.

He said that he was excited when he heard the Mass was being held at the camp. He was very happy that he was able to attend with his busy work schedule.

"It's heavy work I do everyday, " Guzman said. "We don't have time to go to church because of work." 

"It is a great gesture from him (Bishop Bradley) that he came to us," Guzman said. 

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