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Justice-themed Popular Religious Celebrations Lead To Wide Hispanic Engagement

We incorporate social justice concerns into many of the popular events that our people celebrate, such as holding a border Mass on e Día de los Muertos. The Diocese of El Paso is along the border and 86% of the population in our diocese is Hispanic. We incorporate concern for social justice into many of the popular religious events that our people celebrate. Each year, during November, when we celebrate our faithful departed on el Día de los Muertos, the bishops of El Paso, Las Cruces, and Ciudad Juarez celebrate a Mass on the border fence separating our two countries. About 300 people gather on each side of the border to remember those who have died trying to cross the border, to announce the Gospel values of life, love, and compassion, to celebrate solidarity, and to pray for immigration reform. During Advent, we hold migrant posadas. During Lent, we have a migrant Way of the Cross. During ordinary time, we encourage parishes to pray a migrant Rosary.  Another way that we form our people in Catholic social teaching is by holding a training for parish leaders called “La justicia social es evangelización, or “Social Justice is Evangelization.” This rooting of our social justice activities in popular forms of prayer and in the language of evangelization has helped us create the groundwork for growing involvement in advocacy around immigration and other social concerns.