Parish roundup: Advent spirit; accompanying migrants; Deacon's Table

This article appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

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Deacon Moises and Rosalina Guadarrama know of the stories of hundreds of migrant farmworkers who work long, grueling hours in the agricultural sites of Yolo County in the Sacramento Diocese. (Catholic Herald/Cathy Joyce)
Deacon Moises and Rosalina Guadarrama know of the stories of hundreds of migrant farmworkers who work long, grueling hours in the agricultural sites of Yolo County in the Sacramento Diocese. (Catholic Herald/Cathy Joyce)

Catholic churches' lack of blitz and bling during the Advent season is called countercultural and comforting.

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How does your diocese rate in a new study of how easy — or not — it is to find information about its finances? Sacramento, California, and Yakima, Washington, are highly ranked. Camden, New Jersey; Mobile, Alabama; Brownsville, Texas; and Biloxi Mississippi, not so much.

Speaking of the Sacramento Diocese, for nearly 15 years there Deacon Moises Guadarrama and his wife, Rosalina, have ministered to migrant farmworkers and their families in Yolo County. Members of St. James Parish in Davis, California, the couple has bonded with many of the families, watching the children grow and the workers age. "These people struggle so much to keep their families together and we help in any way we can," Rosalina told Catholic Herald magazine.

The Deacons' Table weekly dinner program was one of several ministries to those in need mentioned by Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey, during the diocese's Nov. 19 observation of World Day of the Poor instituted this year by Pope Francis. More than 600 gathered at Metuchen's Cathedral of St. Francis for the evening liturgy. About to celebrate its fourth anniversary, Deacons' Table is funded and staffed by members of the diocese's permanent diaconate and operates out of Good Shepherd Parish in Hopelawn where about 75 guests dine on Wednesdays.

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Charity Sr. Helen Scasny holds a harp-playing angel at the chapel of Light of Hearts Villa, a senior care center in Bedford, Ohio. Christmas angels come out of storage to take a prominent spot in the collection during Advent. (CNS/Jerri Donohue)
Charity Sr. Helen Scasny holds a harp-playing angel at the chapel of Light of Hearts Villa, a senior care center in Bedford, Ohio. Nearly 900 angel figurines of various ages, sizes and materials crowd the shelves. Christmas angels come out of storage to take a prominent spot in the collection during Advent. (CNS/Jerri Donohue)

An impressive collection of angel figurines at a senior care facility in Bedford, Ohio, helps to nurture community and lift spirits.

Pope Francis has clearly endorsed organizing raffles and auctions to generate funding for those in need. He is yet again supporting his own raffle. Winners announced Feb. 2.

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, made a Facebook post criticizing a Nativity scene featuring two St. Josephs dressed in pink and kneeling by a manger. Note: Tobin should not be confused with Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

A University of Alabama study of the link between faith and health claims that persons with a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe have fewer stress-related health issues.

A cooperative effort of New York state's eight Catholic dioceses encourages persons to truly focus on the birth of Jesus during the Christmas season. The campaign also supports hurricane relief efforts for Puerto Rico.

Field Hospital readers following the nascent canonization cause for Nicholas Black Elk have been encouraged to consider yet another volume on the Lakota Native American spiritual leader in addition to those already mentioned. Professor emeritus William Collinge of Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, recommends Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism by Damian Costello, published in 2005. Collinge is member of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 

[Dan Morris-Young is NCR's West Coast correspondent. His email is dmyoung@ncronline.org.]

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