This week Mexicans in the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo. While this is a localized (not national) holiday in Mexico, in this country it has become a national celebration of Mexican, and even wider Hispanic, culture. For non-Hispanic Americans it is an excuse to eat fajitas, drink Margaritas and enjoy mariachi bands – always great things to do any time, of course. But it is also a good time to reflect on the bonds of friendship and proximity that entwine the destinies of Mexico and the United States and that tie the hearts of the two peoples together, and most especially where we have in common the Catholic faith.
Right now is a particularly good time for us here at Catholic Exchange to explore these issues. Our unique format covering diverse subjects allows us to come at this topic from many angles. Among our contributing authors are thoughtful people who are giving attention to these issues from the Catholic perspective you have come to expect from CE.
We will be exploring some fascinating Mexican history that will help all of us to comprehend the challenges faced by our brothers and sisters south of the border, particularly in the area of practicing their faith. We will be featuring commentary from various perspectives on the Arizona law so prominent in the news recently. We will look at Church teaching together, and we will frankly explore those areas of prudential judgment where we might disagree – let’s have a real Catholic exchange about it. And we will have some news to share with you on initiatives to assist Mexican and other Hispanic peoples in the United States to grow in their Catholic faith.
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It is very clear that both Americans and Mexicans are being victimized by political leaders who are not properly attuned to the common good as well as by those who prey on their fellow man. Mexicans who enter this country illegally are often taken advantage of and made to work under horrendous conditions by employers exploiting their vulnerable status. Drug traffickers in Mexico seek profit by the destruction of lives on both sides of the border. Ordinary hard-working family men and women, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic, are caught between powerful competing interests that could not care less about their simple desire to work with dignity and raise a family in peace.
As Louie Verrecchio put it so well in our lead article today, to the extent we gain peace in this world, it is by embracing and living our faith. How desperately we Americans and Mexicans need the help of grace. And how blessed we are that Our Lady has assured us of her maternal interest in our welfare. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the Patroness of the United States, while the Virgin of Guadalupe is the Patroness of Mexico and of all of the Americas. We need her again to vanquish the blood-thirsty demons of this continent, unquenchable as ever in their lust for gory tribute. Let us implore her intercession as we examine these topics during this first week of this month that is especially hers.
Happy Cinco de Mayo. Dios te bendiga.