On Good Friday: Looking Back At America`s Past—And A Prayer For America`s Future


During the past several weeks as I`ve been
driving around my

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania neighborhood
, I`ve noticed signs
for the St. Alphonsus
Church
fish fry held every Friday evening
during Lent.

You know how those things go—start to read
promotions for

fried fish dinners
and in no time fish, chips and

clam chowder
is all you can think about.

So I went last week. And as it happened,
the evening turned into another step in my journey back to
America.

Regular readers know that in July 2008,
I
left
my native

California
to avoid being present when the state

collapses completely and utterly
under the societal and
financial burden of

over-immigration
.

I barely made it

out of Dodge
in time. Since my departure, California
unemployment has risen to

10.5 percent
, the

multi-billion dollar budget deficit
grows daily and the
state`s leaders are too

paralyzed by political correctness
to identify the most
obvious problem—immigration—and
take the necessary punitive steps to stem the tide.

Thank goodness for the fish fry that
confirmed the wisdom of my decision to abandon California.

The dinner was a page from my past. Although
the patrons represented a mixed group, it was an American
version of diversity —and not
diversity
California-style
. 

The crowd consisted of
Italians,
Polish,

Slavs
,

Asians
,
Germans
and
Greeks
, all working class Catholics who
spoke
only English
.

In fact, the English-speaking assemblage
prompted me to wonder when I last heard Spanish. As impossible
for me to believe as it is, I`ve not heard it since I left
California

Since the dinner took place in St. Alphonsus`
cafeteria, the evening took me back to
my Easters
of long ago when I was a devout
Roman
Catholic altar boy
living in Los Angeles. Although I am no
longer a practicing Catholic, my memories of Holy Week from
fifty years back remain vivid.

Ironically, my childhood
Easters had
a strong Mexican
connection
.

Like most Catholic families, our celebration
began on Palm Sunday. And from Holy Thursday, the first day of
the
Triduum
and often referred to as Maundy Thursday, through
Easter Sunday, we spent many hours in Church commemorating
Christ`s
passion
.

On
Good Friday,
from

12 Noon to 3:00 P.M
., we mourned Christ`s sacrifice wherein
he assumed the sins of the world handed down to Him from God the
Father.

Saturday, however, was different. Since Holy
Saturday is a sacred but not a
Holy
Day of Obligation
, we took it off—so to speak—to drive
downtown to

Olvera Street
where the annual

Blessing of the Animals
took place.

On Olvera Street, Mexicans have been
celebrating Sabado de Gloria

for decades
by sprinkling holy water on each animal as its
owners walk it along. Appearing in the animal parade over the
years have been cats,
dogs,
snakes, pigs, sheep, goats,
donkeys,
horses,
opossums, hamsters, birds, monkeys, llamas, camels,

chickens
and peacocks.

For my younger sisters and me, after days of
solemn prayer, the hours we spent on Olvera Street was like
going to the circus.

But everything has changed since the
mid-1950s. As much as I still love animals and enjoy a fun time,
I doubt if I would venture to Olvera Street today.

  • First, this year`s animal parade will be led by one of
    patriotic immigration reform`s most notorious enemies,

    Roger Cardinal Mahony
    .
  • Second, East Los Angeles, then a quaint ethnic enclave, is
    now overwhelmingly Mexican, many of them illegally living in
    the United States.

Gone are the large and diverse non-Hispanic
populations.

Boyle Heights
was heavily Serbian,
Jewish,
and Japanese,
and

Lincoln Heights
was mostly
Italian.

When most of those demographic groups left for
the suburbs, Mexicans seized the opportunity to move into the
East Los Angeles`s low cost housing. 
By 1960, with the exception of a small but distinct
Filipino
population in areas such as

Eagle Rock
,

Glassell Park
and

Atwater Village
, Mexicans dominated the region.

In fact, “greater” East Los Angeles has
expanded—if not geographically then culturally. While many
anchor
baby
Hispanics still live in

Montebello
,

Whittier
and

Pico Rivera
, since the 1970s many have moved into

Compton
,
Lynwood,
and Watts
that previously had been heavily
African
American
.

  • Third, as the Mexican population has spread out,

    its festivals
    have annoyingly taken over not only Los
    Angeles but also California.

In the name of

“embracing diversity,”
they are widely celebrated on
public streets as well as in parks and schools:

President Benito Juarez Day
,

Cesar Chavez
,

Cinco de Mayo
,

Los Pobladores
,

Mexican
Independence Day
,

Virgen de Guadalupe
,
Las
Posadas
,

Los Tres Reyes Magos
and the all-encompassing
Hispanic
Heritage Month.

One is left to wonder if Californians rejoice
on Easter Sunday or on la Pascua de Resurrección.

In
Pittsburgh
though, we still happily
celebrate
Easter
. And on Good Friday St. Alphonsus will host its last
fish fry.

Naturally, I`ll be going—for more reasons that
just to eat
fish.

Whenever I write about my

abandonment of the Roman Catholicism
, the faithful among you
encourage me to return to the flock.

I like to think that my mind remains open
to that possibility. For me, being on Church grounds is a big
step in that direction.

Although I no longer go to Church, I`ve never
given up praying.
I pray
for my family, friends and country, imperiled today more than at
any time in its history.

But I`m trying to decide if my prayers are
heard more clearly from a Church pew
during
Mass
than they are from my bed late at night.

Knowing the answer to my question would
play a big part in my ongoing, unresolved internal debate about
my faith.


To all VDARE.COM readers, I wish you a

Happy and Joyous Easter
.

Joe Guzzardi
[email
him]
is a California native
who recently fled the state because of over-immigration,
over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He
has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the
growth rate stable.
A
long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel.