by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When he was animator of Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas from 2003 to 2013, Father Pat Murphy, CS, visited different parishes every day.
Now, as director of the Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, Mexico, he hardly leaves his mission — because his parishioners literally come to him.
“This makes life very interesting,” said Father Pat, director of the Casa since May 1, 2013.
Last year, the Casa served more than 9,000 people from 32 countries, more than 90 percent of those individuals having experienced deportation from the United States.
Despite his busy ministry, Father Pat finds time to return to the archdiocese annually to give retreats and workshops, and to share with people the story of the Tijuana mission.
“It is a mission that touches their hearts and so they have been very supportive of Casa del Migrante in many ways,” he said.
He will again have an opportunity to reconnect with many of his old friends in the archdiocese this summer. Sister Maria Orozco, SCL, director of adult religious formation in the archdiocesan office of Hispanic ministry, has invited Father Pat to offer a two-day retreat.
Entitled “Spirituality for Disciples of Jesus,” it will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 29 and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 30 at Good Shepherd Parish, 12800 W. 75th St., Shawnee.
The retreat theme is: “In the light of the migratory crisis of today, what does Jesus teach me?”
The cost is $20. All proceeds will go to the Casa del Migrante.
All are welcome, but the retreat will be in Spanish.
“The theme of the retreat came about in a long process of reflection I have been doing over these past few months,” said Father Pat.
“I have shared some of these reflections in three different parishes in San Diego that invited me to do Lenten retreats,” he continued. “The reflections were very well received, and so I began to organize this format into a weekend retreat.
“The theme of this weekend retreat, I believe, speaks for itself.”
A great many Hispanics living in the United States are living in fear of what is happening, he said.
“In this retreat, I want to give them something to hold onto in terms of their faith,” said Father Pat. “It will be an opportunity for them to remember what Jesus has taught them and how they are called to function as a disciple of the risen Lord.”
Additionally, Father Pat will share the story of the Casa. He constantly works to raise funds to keep the doors open.
“We have a staff of 14 and a community of volunteers who live with me for a period of two months to one year,” said Father Pat. “It is a house of hospitality with space for 140 men.”
“It is much more than food and shelter because, at the Casa, we offer a variety of services,” he continued. “Since our population is more than 90 percent deportees, our main function is to help the people who arrive reintegrate into our society. And so, for example, we have an office at the Casa that helps them find work, as well as a full-time lawyer and psychologist.”
The number of deportees arriving at the Casa was down by 30 percent during the first four months of 2017. However, in May, there was an increase of 55 percent over April, so the Casa is preparing for what could possibly be an era of “massive deportations,” said Father Pat.
For more information about the retreat, contact Sister Maria, of the archdiocesan office of Hispanic ministry, at (913) 281-6644.
How you can help the Casa del Migrante
Prayer is always needed. To help financially, make checks out to “Casa del Migrante” and send them to Father Pat Murphy, P.O. Box 430387, San Diego, CA 92143-0387.
If you want to visit the Casa, send Father Pat an email at: casa firstname.lastname@example.org.