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A Christmas Letter

by Angel Valdez

Dear Friends of Casa Juan Diego,

Casa Juan Diego is forty years old.

We wish to thank you for forty years of generosity. The history of Casa Juan Diego is the history of your generosity, a history of Christmas generosity. We can do much at the Houston Catholic Worker because of you.

In addition to Casa Juan Diego—the main house which also gives hospitality to immigrant and refugee women and children—there is Casa Don Marcos for men, Casa Don Bosco for the injured, Casa Maria in Southwest Houston, our clinic buildings, and Casa Juan Diego refugee center in Matamoros, Mexico.

But the work of Casa Juan Diego is more than buildings. It is the service to the poor and always being available that is the challenge.

Your generosity of forty years has been responsible for giving hospitality in our houses to many thousands, for millions of meals to the hungry without a lot of questions, for thousands of prescriptions for the sick poor, for helping refugees travel to their families, assistance to hundreds of families of the sick and seriously injured each year, and a myriad of other services.

We continue to house immigrants and refugees, those monumental scapegoats of modern politicians.

Casa Juan Diego has grown and changed a lot in forty years, but one thing has not changed: there are still no salaries at Casa Juan Diego. Everyone, from full-time Catholic Worker to part-time volunteers, gives their work as a gift. All funds go to the service of the poor.

by Angel Valdez

The homeless, the hungry, the naked, the sick, the powerless turn to us constantly, and even more in this time of the Coronavirus when so many are out of work and no government assistance is available to the undocumented.

As we meditate on the meaning of the Christmas Crib in the midst of many crises, we remember that Lord came to us as God’s glory in human flesh, not in blazing light and immediate transformation of all, but in a humble, hidden, yet powerful form.

We remember that as a small child Jesus was threatened with death and the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt where the migrant Family was received. As we remember the Holy Innocents who were slaughtered as the King sought to kill the child Jesus, we think of the refugee children who have been deported alone from our borders in the past few months to probable death with no way for anyone to locate them.

by Angel Valdez

Christmas asks much of us. Caryll Houselander described what the event of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem asks of his followers even today: “To surrender all that we are, as we are, to the spirit of love in order that our lives may bear Christ into the world – that is what we shall be asked.”

We wish for you a good Christmas. Without people who celebrate Christmas each year – and some each month – Casa Juan Diego would be incapable of bringing Christ to the poor in works of mercy.

Could you help us keep going for another year? We and the poor would be very grateful – and for your prayers, too. God knows we need them.


Louise Zwick and all at Casa Juan Diego

Houston Catholic Worker, October-December, 2020, Vo.l. XL, No. 4.