One Church Many Cultures The Good News of Cultural Diversity Newsletter Spring/Summer 2021
Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, & Travelers
Journeying Together Experiences: The Impact on My Faith, Spiritual and Professional Life
By: Jessica Gallegos, Director of Religious Education K-12 at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Diocese of Boise
The experiences I have had with Journeying Together will be something that will stay with me forever. I have been taught so much when it comes to my faith, my spiritual life and my work as a Director of Religious Education K-12 in Pocatello, Idaho. Seeing other young adults from different cultures from all over the United States and even those who have migrated here from other places has truly shown me how great and diverse the Catholic Church is.
I have been able to see the richness of our great faith in these young adults, their amazing traditions and how they incorporate their culture in prayer and at Mass. Some of their stories I can relate to as a Mexican-American child of a migrant farmworker and others have stories that are new to me. All of this has impacted my faith immensely because even in the face of adversity and sadness there is so much strength, love and faith coming from them that it sets my heart ablaze.
With the Journeying Together process I was able to learn about different Rites we have in the Catholic Church, for instance, our Eastern Rite brothers and sisters who are part of our great family. I got to hear Fr. Tony Massad, a Maronite priest, speak about the Eastern Rites and how they are under the directive of the Pope — that we are one. When Pope Francis was in Iraq for an apostolic visit, I saw the Holy Mass being celebrated at The Chaldean Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Baghdad. Seeing the Pope willing to go and visit this suffering part of our great Church and embrace the people truly filled me with joy. Without being a part of Journeying Together I don’t think I would have paid attention or understood why it was important, the healing and the love.
Being a part of this experience makes me want to be even more welcoming, to learn and teach more about the richness and diversity of the Catholic Church. Overall it makes me want to journey with everyone and meet them where they are with love and compassion and most of all to invite God into this encounter. My heart and prayers go out to those who struggle with not having the support, space, and the welcome from those in the Church. I have been praying for more openness and willingness so that our Church can become even more welcoming, more able to listen and more able to be a source of healing.