Thoughts on Immigration Fast

By: Br. John Kerr
FAN Action Commissioner, Br. John Kerr spent a day in the fasting tent on the mall last week. Here, he gives us his thoughts on his experiences. Pictured below are Rudy Lopez, Patrick Carolan, Br. John and Ana Garcia-Ashley, director of the Gamaliel Foundation.
Last week I drove to Washington to add my Franciscan presence to the “Fast4Families” along with a few other duties. I haven’t fasted in awhile, having lost the appreciation for it as well as colleagues with whom to join. What I thought would be a 24-hour task turned into one of the most moving experiences I’ve had in a long while. 
Before I even found Patrick Carolan, who was beginning his fourth day of only water, I felt at home in the Mall tent. This was clearly holy ground, and yet merely a short stroll from the looming Capitol. An opening prayer brought me together with my fellow fasters. There was Dolores Huerta, who had worked with Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers, telling us how “Si se puede” came into regular parlance years ago in the immigrant struggle. There were faith leaders and participants from all traditions committed to prayer and fasting as a means to change hearts in that nearby building.
A least a dozen members of Congress and various reporters visited the group of a dozen fasters during the day. With each visit when I introduced myself I said I represented my Franciscan province in Hollidaysburg, Penn. who began as a community of immigrants years ago and support immigration reform along with the Catholic Church.
The fasters represented all ages, geographic areas, and nationalities. A few were older than me and most younger. One of the highlights for me was being asked by Patrick to give Communion to Rudy Lopez, who was on his 14th day of fasting on water only. As I broke the half host to offer the tiny piece of the body of Christ I thought this is truly the bread of life for him. We prayed together. He continues to fast until his body gives out. (Four initial fasters were urged to stop on the day I began because of their precarious health after 22 days.)
With each new person that visited us throughout the day we also listened to their stories. We asked four things of them: to join us in fasting, even if only for one meal; to act in some way to invite a representative or friend who is not supportive to visit the tent; to pray with us; and to have their picture taken with us. All of us may offer up some food in solidarity with them; write or call a member of Congress who does not support the Church’s position on immigration reform; and pray with and for the fasters for a just immigration policy that keeps families together.
One faster after another spoke of hope from the support they were receiving from so many. In this Advent Season I can’t think of a greater gift than that.
May God give you peace.
Your brother,
John Kerr, TOR
Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 9:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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