Since April of 2022, thousands of migrants have arrived in Washington, D.C. on buses sent from Texas and Arizona. In May, St. Thomas’ Parish in Dupont Circle joined the many churches, non-profits, and community groups who have provided a warm welcome and much needed food, clothing, and basic necessities. This help has been–and continues to be–critical, as people are arriving after 30 hours on a bus, which comes after an arduous journey to the United States. It was in the weekly welcome of these migrants that we started to hear of other necessities, and a desire to pray together. Many of the people we welcome have not had a chance to worship in a church in many weeks, if not months.
So St. Thomas’ started a Spanish language Misa del Inmigrante on the days we provide welcome. This worship is an opportunity to give thanks for a safe arrival, pray for family and friends left behind, and remember those injured or dead from the journey to the United States. It is a time to remember the love of Christ through the journey, and pray for a blessing for the new journey in the United States.
As most members of St. Thomas’ do not speak Spanish, we invited the Latino congregations in the diocese to participate. What joy and partnership this has brought to us all!
All of the Latino congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Wasihngton are participating in this Misa del Inmigrante, and have also shared in the warm welcome through distribution of food, supplies, clothing, and radical welcome. All are welcome to join St. Thomas’ Parish in this ministry of welcome, and consider how they may provide a welcome in their own ministry context. Reach out to the Rev. Carol Coonrad for more information.
The Rev. Lisa Saunders Ahuja, Rector, St. Thomas’ Parish, Dupont Circle