“God needs our hands today, our voices, so that others may experience God’s love. Everything is about our brothers and sisters, our neighbors. ‘Out of the sacristy!’ said Fr. Dehon. It is the invitation to leave our comfort zones and go where God calls us.”
-Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ
I was born in northern Argentina, in a city called Catamarca. I grew up in the Catholic faith. When I was a child, I would go to my grandparents’ house in the countryside between the mountains on weekends. On Sundays, we went to Mass. There, I heard a song, “Pescador de Hombres,” that was sung by the women of the town. At the time I had no idea that the song – which tells us that Jesus only asks us to follow, “to find other seas” – would become the motivation for my life.
Today at 42, I am still looking for another sea. The Sacred Heart brought me to the United States; I am now a member of the US Province, serving in Mississippi.
I remember a Jesuit preaching at a First Mass in Boston; he called us to follow Jesus wherever he leads us, that we fulfill the prophecy of Jesus when we allow him to be the center of our lives. God called me to serve him by serving his people. I did not know where this call would lead me.
I left everything – my projects, my friends, a career, my comfort zone – when I followed the call of Jesus here, to the United States. For over a year I studied English in the ECS program at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology. I developed new friends, new projects, a new comfort zone. And then I left them all to once again follow God’s call, to find another sea.
Mississippi is a new adventure for me. I had to learn a new culture and a new language (not just English, but the English of the American South!). Everything seemed to be in place for me when God looked at me and smiled again. He called me to see him in the faces of those who suffer in detention, separated from family. Jesus called me by name and sent me to announce the love of God to those who are suffering, to let people know that they are not alone.
When I was an SCJ candidate, I listened to missionaries from the Philippines and other places who told their stories about the missions. My heart burned and I hoped that I could give my life in the same way as they did. Many people yearn to hear that God loves us. That is why I continually look for another sea to travel, to share the love of Jesus. It is what I give my life for.
In Mississippi, I have met my brothers and sisters who are suffering; those who are literally held in shackles. [The photo at the top of the webpage is of several women wearing ankle monitors] Through a coalition of people from Sacred Heart parish in Canton and Santa Ana parish in Carthage, along with a group of lay people led by Catholic Charities of Jackson, MS, we try to give spiritual and psychological support to the communities who have been directly affected by the recent ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) arrests.
God prepared me to show them that love is capable of transforming all. In their fearful and suffering faces I saw Jesus, who invited me to follow him by helping them.
Sharing prayer and the Eucharist with those in detention, I discovered that our greatest wealth is our heart and the work that we do which is offered to God. We have no nets, no swords, only our hands, and our hearts to love with the same intensity that Jesus’ heart did.
God needs our hands today, our voices, so that others may experience God’s love. Everything is about our brothers and sisters, our neighbors.
“Out of the sacristy!” said Fr. Dehon. It is the invitation to leave our comfort zones and go where God calls us.
-Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ