by Sandi Villarreal from November 2018 issue of Sojourners.
Reprinted with permission from Sojourners, (800) 714-7474, www.sojo.net.
A SMALL WHITE CHAPEL sits just a couple hundred yards north of the Rio Grande river in Mission, Texas. While the chapel no longer hosts an active parish, its interior shows signs of frequent use. Prayer candles and silk flowers line the altar and the base of a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe. An entryway table holds dozens of prayers, written on folded loose-leaf paper. Children’s composition notebooks, filled with more handwritten prayers, are stacked in piles.
“Please watch over our brothers, sisters, and all the children being held hostage at the border,” one prayer says. And another: “Please bless our health & the children being separated from their parents @ the border.”
La Lomita Chapel is now part of a municipal park and serves as a rest stop for passersby—while Border Patrol trucks sit just outside the park entrance and a helicopter circles overhead. The chapel land was originally granted to Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate priests in the mid-1800s. Given its location—midway between mission centers in Brownsville and Roma, Texas—La Lomita served as a meeting place and “housed transient visitors to the mission,” according to a historic marker on the site.