Noticing Lazarus At Our Door

Reflections of a Priest with Forty Years in Hispanic Ministry

by Juan Lavin C.Ss.R



Book Details

Language :
Publication Date : 11/5/2007

Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 213
ISBN : 9781425790882
Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 213
ISBN : 9781425790769

About the Book


The peoples of Mexico, Central America and South America have had the most horrendous life experiences for over four hundred years. Their lives previously may not have been any better. But, one would think that Christianity would have turned out to be a blessing to them, and spiritually it has. But, their living conditions have been sad. Wealthy so-called Christians eventually gained control of most of the riches and resources of all those countries and treated the people like slaves.

Much of the damage to these peoples was with the collaboration of business interests from the United States and other First World countries. We have taken wealth in natural resources from their lands while leaving indigenous and other poor people destitute and ignorant. The Church has spoken out against these crimes against humanity in offi cial statements beginning in the 1968 Medellin Conference until the 2007 Aparecida Conference. Some Church offi cials like Archbishop Helder Camara spent their lives siding with the poor. Others have been willing to sacrifi ce their lives for speaking out for justice like Archbishop Oscar Romero. Too many more have preferred to enjoy the social life with the rich and the powerful.

During the Second World War we needed the Mexican people to come and work in our factories to support the war effort. There were also a million and a half Mexicans in the United States army, doing the most diffi cult and dangerous assignments. After the war, those who were not citizens were sent back to Mexico. We have not had a proud history of our treatment of these great people, and a people of great faith and forgiveness. They still love us, in spite of the way we are treating them today when we desperately need them because we have such a severe labor shortage mounting in the tens of millions.

Very few authors have had the courage to speak out on the lives of the people of Latin America and their brothers and sisters living among us One of them is Father John Lavin. His powerful documentary, entitled, Noticing Lazarus at Our Door is a masterful description of the life and exploitation of the people in Latin America and Hispanics in the United States based on his own personal experiences as a missionary among these peoples for over forty years. I was totally captivated by this graphic expose, and I can honestly say that it is a story everyone of us can read with a profound effect on each of us.. I hope many take advantage of this rare opportunity.

Fr. Joseph F. Girzone
Author of the Joshua series

A Just Immigration Law, An Impossible Dream?

After the November 2006 elections, there was hope that the new Democratic controlled Congress would join with President Bush to give the country a bipartisan and fair immigration bill. However, a New York Times editorial wondered if political interests were stronger than the will of our government to do what is right for immigrants and the country as a whole: “Immigration remains a high-voltage issue that Congress may be too timid or distracted to touch.” 16 Unhappily the editorial proved to be accurate. The U.S. Senate defeated the legislation in July, 2007.

Immigrants and their supporters are not marching and demonstrating with the same fervor and sense of empowerment in 2007 as in 2006. However, we are learning a lesson from the loss in the Senate. We will continue to plan, gather resources, take action, and challenge both federal and local governments to recognize the positive contributions of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, to the greatness of our country.

The goal of undocumented immigrants and their supporters continues to be a joint bill of the Senate and the House that offers a clear path to residency and citizenship for most immigrants without papers.

About the Author

John Lavin es un sacerdote redentorista que ha servido al pobre latinoamericano y a pobres hispanos por más de cuarenta años. La trayectoria de su tiempo como sacerdote ocurre así: Fue enviado en misión a Puerto Rico a fin de 1967. Tuvo ocho años de ministerio allí – emparedando un año de estudios en el Instituto Pastoral de Obispos Latino Americanos en Colombia. En 1975 volvió a su tierra natal de Boston para servir a la comunidad hispana en Misión Church hasta 1981. Su siguiente asignación (1981-1987) fue como pastor de St. Cecilia en el Harlem Hispano de Nueva York. En ese entonces trabajó (1987-1992) como predicador ambulante para hispanos en todos los Estados Unidos. En 1992 se hizo párroco de St. Michael en Baltimore, un centro de ministerio hispano. En 1999 el Padre Juan fue a Annapolis, Maryland como misionero para inmigrantes hispanos.