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Sunday 25 July |
The Feast of Saint James the Great

Love wins: Hundreds create human shield to protect Hispanic faithful at Portland church

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 02/09/17

Details from Catholic News Agency: 

A week after Hispanic Catholics experienced racial harassment and taunts from a group of men during a Spanish Mass, the local community in Portland, Oregon sprang into action to show their support for the churchgoers. Despite the chill and the rain, an estimated 200-300 people created a human barrier on Sunday, Feb. 5, protecting parishioners of St. Peter Catholic Church from possible harassment. It was a different scene than what had greeted parishioners the week before, when a group of about eight men dressed as hunters shouted racial and sexual slurs at parishioners during Spanish Mass, and taunted the congregation for being made up of many immigrants, according to the Catholic Sentinel. The group of men was nowhere to be seen the following week. he harassment came at an already tense time for the parish because of new federal immigration policy proposals. Pastor Fr. Raul Marquez, a native of Colombia who has been pastor at St. Peter’s for 5 years, said he had never seen anything like it. “All that Sunday I felt upset and didn’t understand,” he told the Sentinel. But the next Sunday came as a pleasant surprise. News of the previous attacks had spread on social media through two videos of the incident, and local community members banded together, with one post reading: “ATTN WHITE PEOPLE – USE YOUR WHITE BODY TO INTERRUPT RACISM!” It urged people to place themselves “between violent bigots and people of color” to form a “strong human chain to stand as a buffer between Latino worshippers and those who hate them.”

Read more.

Photo: T. Thorn Coyle/CNA

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