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Pilgrims in the Borderlands

Authored by The Rev. Clelia Pinza-Garrity, LCSW

By situating ourselves within concrete experiences, by being with the people there where they live, with caring and fraternal attitudes, as virtuous beings, we expose ourselves to the richness and to the limits of their human and social experience. We are transformed in our way of looking at the world. We are strengthened in what makes their lives and our lives meaningful. (Andrea Vicini, S. J. in Scharen and Vigen, Ethnography as Christian Theology and Ethics. P. 180)

Early this past fall, the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast engaged in a partnership agreement with the Rio Grande Border Ministries, a program of the Diocese of the Rio Grande. The agreement aims to create ways in which pilgrims from the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast can journey to the Rio Grande Borderlands. A journey of listening and learning – of seeing and hearing – of being present with the people of the Texas, Arizona, and Mexico border communities – the Borderlands.

Most importantly, it will be a journey in which we see God Incarnate at work in and through the people who are struggling mightily to escape poverty, oppression, and fear; to find a place of safety and peace. And it will be a journey in which we develop relationships with clergy and lay leaders in Texas, Arizona, and Mexico who need our hearts, hands, and feet to assist and support them in their various borderlands ministries. Rio Grande Borderland Ministry Opportunities

As I reflect on my many years of work in Haiti and my most recent project in the desert bush of Zambia, Africa I can safely say that those of us who travel to the Rio Grande Borderlands will be transformed in our understanding of the complex immigration situation imposed on this area and the people who are struggling mightily to reach safety and peace. I am also quite certain that as Christians we will be transformed as we experience God Incarnate through the stories, the hearts and souls, and the work of those who inhabit this amazing and sacred place.

Our work will begin in earnest in early 2022. We have already had one extremely informative meeting with the U.S. Border Patrol at the El Paso bridge. We intend to schedule other Zoom meetings in January and February, with an in-person pilgrimage in the spring.

If you are interested in joining the Diocesan Borderlands group email list and perhaps volunteering when opportunities arise, please contact Deacon Clelia at (561-271-2890)


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