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Christmas Letter

Migrants Following Refugee Holy Family
                    by Angel Valdez

Dear Friends of Casa Juan Diego,

It is difficult to write our Christmas letter this year because Mark Zwick is no longer with us. His spirit lives on, however, and we share some of his thoughts and ours in this letter.

From the beginning, Casa Juan Diego has depended on people who believed in Christmas, who wanted Christ to be born in the stable that is Casa Juan Diego. They wanted the kind of Christmas described by our Lord in Matthew 25:31ff.: When you serve the poor, I am born in your midst.

The Spirit of Christmas—Jesus being born poor in a stable—is an indomitable force, despite the efforts of consumerism. The poor tell us “that God chose his Son to be born like the rest of us so that we can realize that we are important.” But Jesus and Christmas belongs to all of us to help us to see Jesus in others, so we can avoid the indictment of Dorothy Day: “Those who cannot see the face of Christ in the poor are atheists indeed.”

Our hardest work remains hospitality. There are always close to 100 people in our houses each night. When you house people you house their problems. We are powerless to control giving birth, fights, broken eardrums, seizures, drunkenness, or people fainting all the time. Daily and nightly we are the mercy of the human condition. But hospitality is empowerment in helping people begin anew.

Besides providing so many nights of lodging in our Christmas Inn, we provide food to thousands each month. Medical services and medicine are also provided to hundreds of people at our clinics at Casa Juan Diego and Casa Maria as well as assistance to the many seriously ill and the paralyzed in their own homes.

All of this work makes sense to us only in the light of Christmas. Our work is much easier because there are no wages or time restraints at Casa Juan Diego.

We are asking for your help for another year. We need your help with those who are in desperate need. When everything seems dark and discouraging, the best way to beat despair is to serve the desperate. We can do the work if you help with the bills. Your generosity is crucial to our work. We need each other to avoid the indictment of Dorothy Day. Could you practice a little voluntary poverty and help keep us going for another year? We and the poor would be very grateful—and for your prayers, too. God knows we need them.

May the peace that comes to those who care about children born in stables be yours.

Gratefully in Christ, Louise Zwick, Susan, Julia, Holly, Brian, Clarice, Jesús and all at Casa Juan Diego

Houston Catholic Worker, October-December 2017, VOl. XXXVI, No. 4.