By Fr. Anthony Rigoli, OMI Originally Published on OMIUSAJPIC.ORG
As we approach the great Feast of Pentecost, I can’t help but reflect on how the Holy Spirit moved here in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, ten years ago.
When I returned to the City of New Orleans after having been welcomed by my brother Oblates in Houston and San Antonio, I felt devastated by the sight of over 80% of the city destroyed. I felt that we would never recover nor be the same Big Easy.
Coming to our rescue were many immigrants from Mexico. They truly helped us to rebuild our city. I believe that we would never have been back to some normalcy if not for our brothers and sisters who came to help us.
From my own perspective, I have since seen a greater respect for the immigrants who come to New Orleans. This city was built by immigrants that came here in the past and now in the present. There seems to be a respect for the Mexicans because all New Orleanians know that we would not be where we are today without their hard work. They are workers through and through. They teach us so much. To me, this is truly the work of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the history of this city, immigrants have persevered in spite of hardship and discrimination. The gift of courage has been given to them. All of us can learn from those who never give up.
My own parents came from Sicily with the dream for a better life. May we never give up on our dreams. May the guidance and gift of the Holy Spirit that came at Pentecost and that still comes today, continue to lead us.
Fr. Anthony Rigoli, OMI, is the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church/International Shrine of St. Jude in New Orleans, Louisana. He was born in Buffalo, NY and ordained an O.M.I. in 1972. He has been involved in parish work, teaching, campus ministry and preaching workshops.