Dear Parishioners & Visitors,
In a farming community almost completely surrounded by mountains, a young married couple had a four-year old daughter, Sophia, who was the center of their life. The young husband and father developed a serious lung disease and died. After the funeral the child spent two days with her father’s family while the young widow went to the city by bus, some five hours distant, to take care of necessary paperwork concerning her husband’s death. When she returned from the city to her deceased husband’s family to take Sophia back home with her the family members would not allow her to come into their home and would not allow the mother to see the daughter. They told her that they were the “rightful guardians” of the child because her husband, their family member, had died and she should go elsewhere because they didn’t want her around anymore.
Distraught and at a loss as to what to do, she returned to the city and sought assistance from a local Catholic church. At the church a parishioner who practiced law was asked to listen to the story of the young widow and mother and was moved by the injustice. Over a period of three weeks, the lawyer traveled back and forth from the city to the farming community, filing the appropriate legal documents and entering into dialog with the family keeping Sophia away from her mother. By her advocacy, the family ceased their unjust taking of the child and mother and child were finally reunited.
In the midst of this trauma, the loss of her husband to sudden disease and her daughter to her husband’s family, the young widow and mother was sad and despairing. She needed an advocate to help give her hope and she found one by the grace of God. The lawyer, a wife and mother of a daughter herself, gave herself wholeheartedly to become the advocate for the mother. She was HOPE for the mother.
This is Advent, a time of hope, of joyous expectation, of renewal, a season of longing for Jesus, Light of the World. We need hope and we are invited anew to be Advocates of Hope for those in the grip of loss, fear, despair, violence, sadness, or whatever other suffering we humans may face.
There is hope for your future, says the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country.
In God’s loving kindness,
—fr. Chris, O.P.