Snapshot From a Lenten Supper in Westbury


Last night, I went to the Lenten soup supper at St. Brigid’s Church near my home in Westbury. A couple of hundred people turned out to share a bowl of soup, some plain bread, and a glass of water. Most people brought canned foods for the parish’s food pantry or made a donation to support its work.

Parish outreach workers like Yanira Lopez and Joan Euchase led the congregation in prayer before we ate. They reminded us that what we considered a small meal was more than many billions of people eat each day. They asked us not just to pray for the poor and donate to charity, but to work for changes like raising the minimum wage that would allow the hungry to be justly compensated for their work.

The service itself was in English and Spanish. No one seemed to mind. Unlike some of our politicians, folks seemed comfortable listening to hearing the Word of God in a couple of different languages.

Fr. Ralph Sommers, the church’s pastor, asked everyone to introduce themselves to the people around them and to say where their families had originally come from. Mexico, Ireland, Sicily, Poland, Germany, El Salvador, and Italy were the countries I heard identified near me. Not a single person didn’t ultimately come from somewhere else.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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