|Photo: Pax Christi|
García will speak to the Albuquerque faith community about refugees fleeing violence and abject poverty in Central America and Mexico. The refugees are crossing into El Paso and New Mexico in large numbers, and Annunciation House is helping those who are found by immigration authorities to pose no threat and are released to await their hearings for refugee/asylum status.
Welcoming the Stranger
Each year, García travels to universities and other venues throughout the United States. with the compelling message of welcoming the stranger. His work has been widely recognized in the news media, including this information in a piece published by The Christian Science Monitor.
- In 1976, Ruben García was part of a Catholic youth group in El Paso whose members reflected on the scriptures and felt called to live simply and serve people in poverty.
- The Catholic Diocese there provided them a building near the international border. Mother Teresa visited El Paso in 1978 and encouraged Mr. García to “announce the good news.” From that exhortation came the name Annunciation House.
- For thirty-eight years, Annunciation House has offered hospitality to migrating strangers in need of compassion and respite, providing a safe place to eat and sleep on their journeys.
- In 2012, Ruben García received the Teacher of Peace Award from Pax Christi, an award also given to people such as Dorothy Day, Father Daniel Berrigan, and Sister Helen Prejean.
García works ecumenically and internationally. Each year, Annunciation House hosts an evening honoring a person recognized for being the Voice of the Voiceless. This year, Annunciation House recognized Olga Sánchez Martínez, of Albergue Jesús El Buen Pastor in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico.
"The event is a deeply inspiring time to become aware of the poverty and violence that force migration," said the organizers of García's visit to Albuquerque. "It celebrates people such as a Protestant pastor who searches for stranded migrants in the Arizona desert, Catholic nuns who work with people in poverty, a Catholic priest who works for more just policies in Central America, Mexican journalists and lawyers who stand up to violence, a woman in Mexico who shelters Central American migrants in her country, and mothers and fathers who seek justice for their children, victims of violence. All have risked their well-being to serve others."
"As we welcome Ruben García in Albuquerque, we can help him return to El Paso with our prayers and with items that will help him in his work, for example, travel-sized toiletries such as shampoo, soap, and toothpaste; tooth brushes; disposable diapers, feminine hygiene items, and shoe laces. (Shoe laces are taken during the time that refugees are processed in by immigration authorities), NEW underwear for all ages is needed--also towels and clean winter coats for all ages. Monetary donations are welcome," said the event organizers.