I first met Fredy Diaz about 10 years ago at a meeting of Latino leaders of our Diocese. He was a leader at St. Mathew’s/San Mateo, where he was a member of its vestry. His charisma and energetic personality stood out immediately.
I eventually came to know something of Fredy’s history: He came to the United States from Honduras when he was just 17, and over the next 20 years established a life for himself and his family here.
In 2015, Fredy moved to Gaithersburg where he, his wife Berta and their three American-born children joined the Church of the Ascension. Fredy and Berta are both supervisors in their places of work, he with a landscaping firm, manages work teams and negotiates new contracts, and she as Manager of Housekeeping for a hotel.
At Ascension, Fredy stepped into leadership as a member of “La Mesa Latina,” the congregational leadership group. Fredy took charge of the grounds and kept them looking spiffy. He began to manage the technology for the Latino congregation’s services, streaming Sunday services online, and producing the weekly PowerPoint for on-screen services. He participates in Ministerio Felicidad, which provides lunches for day workers and homeless people. And Fredy is also a singer and composer. In the little spare time he has produced two albums.
Two weeks ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was waiting for Fredy as he was on his way to work. He is currently in a detention center in Glen Burnie, MD, where he remains incarcerated. The family is reeling. The children are bewildered. Berta is trying to remain strong as she doubles down to make ends meet while doing her best to comfort the children. The people of Ascension, Gaithersburg are supporting the family as they can through financial donations, as well as through a support network providing assistance in any number of ways, in the hope of making the children’s lives seem as normal as possible during their “Papi’s” absence.
We understand that Fredy’s attorney has been able to defer any deportation proceedings pending notification from immigration authorities whether they will reopen his case. We ask you to pray for Fredy, Berta and their children, and for all our immigrant families, who are eating the bread of anxiety during these terrible times.
If you are moved to help in a more direct way or wish to know more about Fredy and his family, contact Church of the Ascension by clicking here.
By The Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin, Latino Missioner