St. Anne Catholic Community Catholic Extension
The St. Anne Catholic Community has generously assisted Catholic Extension funded projects with our Lenten Almsgiving for the past five years. It has been a wonderful partnership—allowing people in our parish to learn about the essential work of Catholic Extension in the more than 90 “mission” dioceses in the United States and, at the same time, to provide resources that make possible a myriad of human development projects. This weekend, we look at the Diocese of Yakima, Washington.
Migrant Worker Ministry
Under the leadership of Bishop Joe Tyson, the Diocese of Yakima creatively ministers to the 100,000 laborers who make their way to the diocese each spring to harvest the crops of cherries, apples, and pears. Temporary migrants arrive in June for the cherry-picking season. The work is labor-intensive, with laborers showing up at the fields at 4 a.m. daily. After the cherry season, some workers return home to other parts of the U.S. and some stay on to pick apples or pears.
During the harvest, most migrants stay in temporary camps, set up to house both individuals and families. Sixteen migrant camps are spread across the 18,000-square-mile diocese. With the workers’ demanding schedule and their lack of transportation, Bishop Tyson initiated a migrant ministry program to bring the Church to them. Masses are held in the fields, under a tent or tree, in the heart of the bustling migrant worker camp. Mass in the fields is part of a broad effort to reach out to migrant workers where they live, and to bring the Church to them. With the help of the Saint Anne Catholic Community in Barrington, Bishop Tyson’s ministry reached thousands of hard-working families. These fantastic ministry moments – moments of extending a sense of humanity to those on the peripheries – were made possible by the generosity of St. Anne Catholic Community in 2016.
COVID-19 is still raging in severely under-resourced communities. The Diocese of Yakima, WA has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections on the west coast. Migrant farm communities do not have the luxury of sheltering in place. More than half the workers at one local grower tested positive for COVID. A priest in the Diocese, Fr. Alex Trejo, tested positive for the virus and was hospitalized for a month. Bishop Tyson and his parishioners reacted with calm and loving support. The migrant families in the Yakima Valley have been hurt badly by COVID-19. They are reeling from the economic, psychological, and spiritual effects of the virus.
Let our brothers and sisters know that stand with them in solidarity. Alms will be collected through GIVE CENTRAL here (https://www.givecentral.org/location/177)