By: Victoria Ciudad-Real
Like many in my diocese, I come from an immigrant family. Growing up, the Catholic Church supported us and the community. It also taught us that we are equal in the body of Christ, regardless of race, gender, class, and even legal status. With my faith community as my foundation, I discovered a passion for serving others, especially our immigrant community.
Under this new administration, many in my community are living in fear, and I often feel disillusioned with many of the policies being proposed. But it's when I feel the most disempowered that I also feel the Holy Spirit urging me forward. Like the Apostles during Pentecost, God places a restlessness in my heart, which inspires me to take action despite my insecurities.
For example, with other young adults in my parish in California, we organised a bilingual Social Justice Conference. We provided our community with a resource fair and workshops on advocacy, restorative justice, and ‘Know Your Rights’. Planning the event was difficult and exhausting, but it was our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ that kept us going.
In tiring times like these our fear can trap us, but our faith demands that we get busy being the best neighbour we can be. And when our work at times seems small, we know that love compels us forward anyway and that, ultimately, Christ will restore us.
Victoria is an intern at the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington, and a parishioner at St. Mary's Catholic Church, a Columban parish in Fontana, California. This reflection originally appeared in the newsletter for the Diocese of San Bernardino Office of Evangelization and Adult Faith Formation in collaboration with the Office of Young Catholics.