Br. Steve Herro's Blog
"THERE IS NO VIRTUE SO TRULY GREAT AND GOD LIKE, AS JUSTICE."
Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem., professed solemn vows to the Community of St. Norbert Abbey in 1991. For several years, he headed the justice and peace ministry of St. Norbert Abbey and presently serves as Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, VA. His current ministry connects him to national Catholic issues and Church ministers throughout the country.
DISCLAIMER: This blog represents Br. Herro's own opinions and experiences. It does not represent an official position or opinion of neither of the organizations, St. Norbert Abbey nor Catholic Charities USA, nor of any of the organizations' members.
August 1, 2014
Entry #30: "How will you remember the summer of 2014?"
by Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
This has been the "summer of the unaccompanied youth" crisis. We have learned that there are upwards of 50,000 unaccompanied youth, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, who will be apprehended and temporarily housed in U.S. border security detention centers in 2014. A few memories will remain etched in my brain for some time.
Ella (name changed to respect her privacy) has one of the best attitudes of any person with whom I work. And she has been through a lot. In the early 1980s, her father was murdered in El Salvador because government rightists felt threatened by him. By the late 1980s, many of her family had fled to the United States. She spent several weeks this past June assisting at a Catholic Charities respite center in Texas, helping children repair their psyches after having been jammed in U.S. border security detention centers for up to weeks on the U.S.-Mexican border. After she returned, the two of us reviewed some office operations that had to be completed for the fourth quarter. As she apologized for being "behind" in her work, I simply replied that she had just returned from supplying human compassion and charity during a historic humanitarian crisis. Surely, we understood that the kids on the border and her own emotional wellbeing come first.
The second "aha" moment occurred in early July. Two of our Catholic Charities USA staff were hosting a number of our summer interns from Notre Dame, St. Vincent, and Bethlehem Universities on a tour of Catholic sites in northeast Washington, D.C., including the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. As you can imagine, many of the side chapels of the National Shrine dedicated to the patroness of the United States feature the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe that caused me the longest pause. If I could talk to the Patroness of the Americas today, what would we discuss? The teenager with the newborn Christ child was forced to flee her homeland because the powerful threatened the child’s very life; wait, are we talking the beginning of the common era in Palestine/Egypt or July 2014 in Mexico/Texas?
Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it.
Archived Blog Posts
- Entry #29: "Addressing privilege and personal prejudice" (archived July 30, 2014)
- Entry #28: "Are you ready to be their friends?" (archived June 30, 2104)
- Entry #27: "Two Popes, Two Voices for International Peace" (archived June 2, 2014)
- Entry #26: "This Pope Gives Me (and a lot of Protestants) Hope" (archived May 5, 2014)
- Entry #25: "What does it mean to 'take on the smell of the sheep'?" (archived March 31, 2014)
- Entry #24: "Gimme Shelter has implications for respecting all of human life" (archived March 3, 2014)
- Entry #23: "Lack of unemployment insurance threatens livelihood of 1.3 million U.S. workers" (archived January 28, 2014)
- Entry #22: "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" (archived January 2, 2014)
- Entry #21: "Inspirations from an hour of prayer in Washington, D.C.'s St. Matthew's Cathedral" (archived December 3, 2013)
- Entry #20: "A victory for public will in U.S.-Syria relations" (archived November 4, 2013)
- Entry #19: "Mobility for whom and what?" (archived September 30, 2013)
- Entry #18: "What sources are influencing your position on comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S.?" (archived September 3, 2013)
- Entry #17: "Head to the border, but not for Taco Bell" (archived July 29, 2013)
- Entry #16: "Remember – they work for us" (archived June 28, 2013)
- Entry #15: "To insure that justice flows like water" (archived May 4, 2013)
- Entry #14: "Pope Francis gains early praise from Catholic social action figures" (archived April 10, 2013)
- Entry #13: The moral impact of sequestration (archived March 3, 2013)
- Entry #12: "My first U.S. Presidential Inauguration" (archived February 2, 2013)
- Entry #11: "Time to vigorously embrace reduction of gun violence as a Catholic pro-life issue" (archived January 8, 2013)
- Entry #10: "December is not too early to think about community gardens" (archived December 4, 2012)
- Entry #9: "Vengeance ≠ Justice" (archived November 5, 2012)
- Entry #8: "Is it a sin not to vote?" (archived October 9, 2012)
- Entry #7: "Costing monarchies and election campaigns during an international economic downturn" (archived September 9, 2012)
- Entry #6: "Neighborliness and the extreme summer weather of 2012" (archived August 4, 2012)
- Entry #5: "Eph 6: 13-17 and a first round victory for DREAMers and their advocates" (archived June 17, 2012)
- Entry #4: "Cultivating Joy, Gratitude and Compassion in Today's Church" (archived May 12, 2012)
- Entry #3: "God is Neither Red Nor Blue" (archived April 14, 2012)
- Entry #2: "Operation Rice Bowl Opens Doors to Understanding Global Development Issues" (archived March 5, 2012)
- Entry #1: "We're 27! We're 27!" (archived January 14, 2012)