Welcome to the Migrant Ministry

It’s hard to imagine being at the mercy of others to get to Mass, but that’s the case for Migrant Workers who are in our area as Guest Farmworkers.  We have such a great gift right here in our Parish community to encounter Jesus in the stranger, and welcome Him as He called us to do.  Please prayerfully consider the Migrant Ministry and help us ensure our Guest Farmworkers have the means to attend Mass.

Hundreds of men annually work on contract (H-2A visas) with local growers to produce tobacco and other cash crops.  These guest workers arrive by bus throughout the growing season and live together in “camps” on the grower’s land, where they are typically isolated by language, lack of transportation and long hours of work.  Volunteers from Saint Bernadette offer a vital link to parish life to farm workers.

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’  —  Matthew 25:37-40

With the help of volunteers, the office of Social Outreach plans, coordinates and conducts outreach and advocacy with farm workers.  Whether or not you speak Spanish, there are many ways you can serve.

What Can I Do?

      Provide transportation to Mass on Sunday

Every Sunday during growing season(March to November), groups of volunteers from St. Bernadette follow a lead driver along one of three routes (Angier, Fuquay-Varina, Willow Spring) to pick up farm workers, bring them to the 5 PM Sunday Mass and then return them home after dinner (approximately 7 PM).  We meet at the church at 3:15 PM and travel together; you do not need to be familiar with the local countryside to drive.  Each week we rely on approximately 15 volunteers to serve in this ministry.  Schedules are set by Thursday for the coming Sunday.  You can drive as often or as infrequently as you like.

Drivers to and from Mass are our greatest ongoing need.  Please prayerfully consider participating in this outreach. Sign up by emailing Gloria Azcona  (outreach@stbnc.net) or by calling the Social Outreach office  919-552-8758.

Gloria’s Notes from the Fields

10 July 2018 – Fifteen Drivers of Faith helped to transport 90 farm workers to Mass and dinner this past Sunday. They did it with gladness and a light heart. If you want to see how God has blessed St. Bernadette parish and the Migrant Ministry, please come to the migrant Sunday dinner. You will see a sea of smiles on the farm workers, partner church volunteers, clinic volunteers, and Drivers of Faith. We are HIS instruments!
Driving these men is not for everyone. If you set limits as to how far you want to travel, how much time it takes, or have qualms of driving strangers; perhaps, you might look into volunteering during the Sunday dinner on September 2nd (when it’s St. Bernadette’s turn to host). You will leave with your heart and belly full.  Blessings!

Be sure to checkout more of Gloria’s Notes From the Fields here

   Volunteer at the Sunday evening screening clinic

Nurses, EMTs, mid-level providers and physicians volunteer at a weekly screening clinic held from June through September at St. Bernadette after the 5 PM Mass on Sundays.  Farmworkers are seen on Sundays. Our clinic is screening only.  No acute care and no treatment or diagnosis.  In some cases, we arrange transport to an ER via the Farmworker Project or the grower.  Interpreters are also needed (1/week).    Time commitment:  Approximately 2 hours/week, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  

Donate over the counter (OTC) medications

OTCs are available in the screening clinic and on visits by staff to the camps.  Many farmworkers have limited access to stores and medications, and they may not have the English language skills needed to read labels and instructions.  The clinic collects OTC medications and vitamins that can be distributed by volunteers to workers and under the advisement of healthcare professionals on an “as-needed” basis.  Donations can be dropped off at Social Outreach during regular office hours or on Sundays between 3 and 5 pm.  For information on farmworker health issues, go to:  http://nfwm.org/education-center/farm-worker-issues/health-safety/

Especially in demand: Ibuprofen, Dramamine, Benadryl, antifungals and hydrocortisone, all of which are used in the treatment of work-related conditions.

   Donate men’s clothing

Men’s clothing is collected year-round and distributed to farmworkers throughout the growing season.  The men can bring only two small bags with them and throughout the season they need gently used or new clothing. Clothing is distributed after Mass on Sunday evenings. 

  • Men’s long sleeve dress shirts (S, M, L) which are worn to work as protection from sun exposure, pesticide exposure and green tobacco sickness.
  • Pants (greatest need is for waist sizes 32-36 and length 30 and 32)
  • T shirts and shorts for after work, especially sizes M and L (W:  32, 34, 36)
  • Baseball caps for work, sun and pesticide protection
  • Bicycle style boxer shorts (New only) made with lycra to protect against chafing while working in the fields.

Donate blankets, sheets and bedding

St. Bernadette has a ministry, “Our Brother’s Keeper” that makes and donates quilts to those in need, including farmworkers. For more information on this ministry, contact Marilyn Kauffman 919-740-8497 or mkauffmann7@gmail.com.

Serve on the spiritual care team

The parish community is invited to accompany the pastor to the camps on Thursdays during the month of June for house blessings, Mass and Catholic fellowship.  The group meets at the church at 7 PM and travels together.  Time commitment:  approximately two hours.

Donate financially

You can donate online by clicking the Donate button below. Include Migrant Ministry in the section on the form “Are you donating to any specific fund?




Every dollar goes to helping provide food, clothing, and emergency needs. We are truly grateful for your generosity.


Testimonials

St. Bernadette parishioner who has driven migrant workers to Mass for 13 years

I feel blessed and proud to say that this will be my 13th year driving the migrant farm workers. It is to me a privilege to drive these hardworking people to Mass.  They are away from their families never complain and are thankful to be a part of the St. Bernadette community.  We help with healthy meals, clothing and medical needs.  I have gained their friendship and made great friends with other parishioners who help out.  You will gain much in helping out, even just once.  This is a worthy cause.  To me giving outweighs receiving.

Migrant Worker who has been coming for over 20 years

Yo, Felix, estoy muy agradecido con la iglesia santa Bernardita y con todas las personas que allí trabajan por que en los 20 años que tengo trabajando aquí siempre me han ayudado.  Dios se lo page a todos. Gracias.
I, Felix, am very appreciative with St. Bernadette church and all the people who work there because in the 20 years working here they always help me.  May God repay all of you.  Thank you.

Camp Mass and Dinner

June 28 2018

As we encountered the Real Presence of Jesus during the Mass, we were grateful to have Fr. Mike join in the celebration with the Farmworkers.  Everyone listened intently to Fr. Fernando’s Homily about Matthew’s Gospel and Jesus’ discourse on the two foundations, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.”–Matthew 7:24 . 

Fr. Fernando blessed the Farmworker’s rooms after Mass.


June 21 2018

A memorable evening Mass.  We were grateful to José who provided the flowers for the altar from the field at the camp. He and the other Farmworkers fully participated in the Holy sacrifice of the Mass and we are grateful.   Fr. Fernando blessed the Farmworker’s rooms after Mass.


June 14 2018

With help from Octavio and Luis, we participated in a beautiful Mass.  Fr. Fernando was also able to bless the Farmworkers’ rooms after Mass.


June 7 2018

A heartfelt thank you for attending Mass. Fr. Fernando was so pleased to see you there.  We took the extra food to a camp that had not been working for 4 to 5 weeks. Even though they started working last Monday, they won’t get paid for two weeks. Your food donation was gratefully received with smiles.


Sunday Farmworker Dinners 2018

July 15 2018 – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our sisters and brothers from St. Michael the Archangel of Cary served a wonderful meal with help from all ages.  The farmworkers came back for seconds and thirds!!   ¡Muchas Gracias por una gran cena!

 

 

 


July 8 2018 – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Parishioners of St Andrew the Apostle of Apex were back again with generous hearts and joyful giving.  They are a true blessing!

 

 


July 1 2018 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are grateful to the Parishioners of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral for the wonderful meal they prepared and took the extra care to serve the farmworkers at their tables. Muchas Gracias!

June 24 2018 – Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

We are blessed with Saint Bernadette’s own Hispanic Ministry who served a delicious dinner to our Guest Farmworkers.  What a big turnout!   ¡Muchas Gracias por una gran cena!


June 17 2018 – 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A heartfelt thank you to the Parishioners of St. Michael the Archangel of Cary for a great meal and extra donation of food and clothing.

Prayer to Saint Michael:
” Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, oh Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.”

 

 


June 10 2018 – 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Thanks to our sisters and brothers from Saint Andrew the Apostle in Apex for a wonderful meal and a helping hand with the Clothes and at the Clinic.

 

” As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.  He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’  At once they left their nets and followed Him.” – Matthew 4:18-19

 

 


June 3 2018 – Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Thanks to our friends at Unity Church of the Triangle who provided a wonderful meal for the Farmworkers and Volunteers.

We also started the Clinic and Clothing and are grateful for the compassion and care of our Volunteers.

 

Current Volunteers (p/w)