Church vandalism shows we need to help those in need

Seek Albuquerque Wellness. Because by seeking the well-being of our city, we will find our own. It seems that now, more than ever, we desperately need to seek the welfare of Albuquerque.

A beggar and his sign at a crossroads assail our consciences. Our moral sense should be assaulted as we pass through Coronado Park, which has become a horrible human embarrassment and the disgrace of our city. One of the challenges we face with our daily assaults is due to memory; it’s as if the onslaught still persists. How does this affect our human condition?

Many poor people of all kinds, weak, vulnerable, neglected, marginalized, those who own nothing and therefore mean nothing to others, also have behavioral or mental health problems. This was what was present in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day morning when a man deprived of our streets caused tens of thousands of dollars in immediate damage to the cathedral-like Shrine of the Little Flower, the building of the Church of the Catholic Community of Saint Theresa at the geographical center of the city. They will have to raise nearly $200,000 to protect the historic and artistic showcases of the Sanctuary from future vandalism.

It is very clear that we are now reaping the consequences of the behavioral health crisis in New Mexico and the United States. In 1981, Congress and the President of the United States repealed most of the Mental Health Systems Act (MHSA) of 1980 signed into federal law by the previous administration. The long-lasting effect of a law that was repealed that deinstitutionalized patients with mental illness at the federal level, meant that those patients, their communities, and local agencies had to deal with the mental health issues of those people. .

More recently, in 2014, New Mexico’s behavioral health infrastructure was decimated by the dismantling of providers who then shut down these services. Compounded by New Mexico’s historic trauma and generational poverty, we desperately need a visionary approach to healing New Mexico – and to get there, we need bold workforce development strategies. works to develop professions such as social workers, counselors, educators, and other healers to rebuild New Mexico’s social safety net.

While religious communities may have beautiful places of worship, many of these communities more importantly offer some kind of hospitality to people in need. There may even be a “welcome table” where women, men and entire families are served a hot meal in the adjoining hall. You can imagine a hallway filled with the unique scent of incense spaghetti sauce! How often, however, do we realize the connection between worship, liturgy, prayer and service? The call to service, compassion and understanding is proclaimed weekly from the pulpit, but not all respond.

The true work of transforming humanity is accomplished when the sacred penetrates deep enough into our hearts to lead us to active involvement in the care of others. Saint Teresa of Avila, a great mystic of Spanish Jewish origin, said of Jesus: “Christ has no other hands on Earth than yours”. The inexplicable power of understanding, acceptance, compassion and service is that the servant is also transformed and healed by the tender act of giving.

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you. Pray for the city to the Lord. Because by seeking his well-being, you will find yours. From the writings of Jeremiah 29:7, a prophet of great and ancient Judaism.

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