Posts Tagged ‘Hispanic community’

Celebrating Day Laborers on Three Kings Day

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Ringed with garlands of evergreens and bows, St. Peter’s Church kicked off this year’s Three Kings Day celebration with a mass for the day laborer group, Oberos Unidos de Yonkers and their young families on Saturday, January 7.   The nearly 300-member crowd — with children in tow — then moved to the gym below converted into Santa’s workshop.  Children flocked to a stage brimming with trucks, teddies and toys and families feasted on ethnic specialties.

Organized by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, the event offered respite for these day laborers who line up daily waiting for work during heat, rain and freezing snow.

It also served as a way to thank the day laborers for their hours volunteering, commuting by bus, train and ferry, to rebuild Staten Island homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

Three Kings Day, widely celebrated in the Hispanic community, commemorates the Twelfth Day of Christmas when the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem to share with the infant Jesus their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

This annual celebration is part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos of Yonkers.  Catholic Charities educates workers about employment rights and responsibilities.  It provides assistance to prevent exploitation and workplace abuses including help with collecting unpaid wages. It assists with integrating workers into society.  It provides local resources including access to healthcare, emergency food and identification cards.  And it offers a meeting space along with English as a Second Language and computer classes to help immigrants with their goal of acclimating and contributing to their new homeland.

 

Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?

Click here or call 917-579-9048

Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding more services you need.

 

Day Laborers Celebrate Their Heritage With Three Kings Party

Monday, January 7th, 2013


 

By Alice Kenny

On Saturday, January 5th, Obreros Unidos de Yonkers held their annual Three Kings Party to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. Timothy Cardinal Dolan joined over 300 members and their families for an Epiphany Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s Church and a celebration afterward.

The Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, is widely celebrated in the Hispanic community with parties, gifts and a special pastry called rosca de reyes (kings’ ring). Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, including the Sisters of Charity, helped at Saturday’s party by serving dinner, distributing toys to children and giving gifts to the registered workers.

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, Janet Hernandez, the community organizer who staffs the Obreros Unidos program and Father Lino Otero, the pastor of St. Peter’s parish, all participated in the celebration, along with Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano.

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate the contribution that immigrants are making,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Their faith, industriousness and commitment to family are values that inspire us all. Catholic Charities is both proud and privileged to be part of this community and provide needed help that creates a future of hope for these workers and their families.”

Obreros Unidos (Workers United) is a group of approximately 300 day laborers in the Yonkers area that works with Catholic Charities on projects throughout the year. For example, after Sandy hit, Obreros Unidos members volunteered to remove crumbling sheet rock and pull out ruined furniture from Staten Island houses destroyed by the storm. Catholic Charities also provides multiple services for the group, including educating workers on employment rights and responsibilities in order to prevent exploitation and abuse.