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Casa Juan Diego Christmas Letter 2015

The Holy Family Fled To Egypt by Angel Valdez



Dear Friends of Casa Juan Diego,

Many thanks for allowing us to remain open for another year. We are grateful.

We keep hearing that you can tell a good Catholic by the way they love the poor (or a good Presbyterian or a good Jewish person). The “goods” keep us going.

But it appears that you can also tell a poor person by the way they love Casa Juan Diego.

People keep pouring in – the newly arrived, the sick, the many hungry Houstonians living on the margin, the naked, the cold – Casa Juan Diego is Grand Central Station.

Casa Juan Diego is intimately bound up with the meaning of Christmas.

All the hype about Christmas shopping simply cannot drown out the Good News of this Silent Night: Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem with the poor! It overwhelms even the most rational and hardest of hearts.

Madeleine L’Engle said it very well: “This is the irrational season when Love blooms bright and wild. Had Mary been filled with reason there’d have been no room for the child.”

We are still in the stable at Casa Juan Diego, obviously not following reason, where we await Jesus in the person of the poor (Remember Matthew 25:31ff.: What you do to one of these least ones, you do to me) and daily Jesus comes.

He comes to us in the many immigrants and refugees who come, in the pregnant women that nobody wants, in those who are black and blue or threatened with death or with their heads full of stitches, in those men who have been shot in the back, and many who are traveling, seeking to avoid starvation for themselves and especially for their children.

Many come to find a bed. Providing hospitality remains our hardest work as much can happen when people are with you day and night. Someone is always sick and babies are being born.

In a year’s time thousands of Houstonians come for food and medicines at our clinics. With all of this we understand better Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker:

“Hospitality is the mystical key to real love of mankind.”

Who needs Christmas? The poor of Casa Juan Diego need Christmas.

We are writing to ask your permission and generosity to go on for another year. As usual, no one is paid at Casa Juan Diego. All monies received go to the service of the poor. We need your prayers and help to continue.

Gratefully in Christ,

Mark and Louise Zwick and all at Casa Juan Diego


Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, November-December 2015