The Gospel in action.
The Casa Juan Diego complex includes 10 buildings that offer a staggering variety of services: there's a shelter for men, for example, and another for women and children; there's a food and clothing bank, which distributes between 10 and 15 tons of food a week; there's a full-service health clinic, including dental care; and there are residences for sick and disabled people who need long-term care. Casa Juan Diego also pays between $500 and $1000 a month to support 70 other sick and disabled people who live in their own homes.The website of the Casa Juan Diego.
Casa Juan Diego is also a resource center in a staggering variety of ways. Louise said they field requests that run the gamut from, "Where can I find a Mass in Spanish?" to navigating complex interactions with the legal system. For example, Louise said, not long ago a woman arrived with the following problem: "My son, who's 19, is the only means of support for the family, and he likes to drive fast. There's now a warrant out for his arrest, and I can't work because I hurt my shoulder. Can you help us?"
Louise said that, in her view, a particularly pernicious aspect of current American immigration policy is the way it often drives families apart. She offered the example of a Guatemalan woman who had arrived in Texas with her children, and was deported when she went to an immigration office to apply for an ID card. Somehow she showed up at the door of the Casa Juan Diego after returning to Houston, Louise said, almost entirely on foot, in search of her children, from whom she's been separated for more than a year.
Casa Juan Diego doesn't charge anything for these services, and it doesn't even invite guests to send money later on, once they've settled somewhere. That doesn't mean, however, that they ask nothing in return.
"We don't accept money from the guests, but we tell them they do have to pay," Mark said. "One day in the future when someone in need crosses your path, like a flash from Heaven you'll know that it's time to pay for Casa Juan Diego."
I should add that I will probably among those who disagree with the economic policies advocated by these good folk. Or rather, I might disagree with their critique of free-market capitalism. Allen writes:
Not every Catholic, of course, will share the political and economic views espoused by the Zwicks. Some would argue that the spread of free-market capitalism around the world, what the Zwicks call "neo-liberalism," has created middle classes in places such as China and India, lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty.Yup. They are hugely critical of the Acton Institute for instance (Economic Personalism is a Fraud). Which just make me want to continue my reading in economics: I am keenly aware of how little I know!