I started dating my first (yeah) husband in 1991; he was from Yucatán, Mexico. He would go on and on about a priest, Padre Tomás, who had been down there and accomplished many things for the community. He had also encouraged some of the young men to come north, where there were plenty of jobs and a way out of the grinding poverty of rural Mexico.
Yes, that priest was none other than the same Fr. Tom I knew as a child. He had returned to the diocese, and was in Windsor at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Ruben and I went to Mass one Saturday, and Tom and I were able to reacquaint ourselves.
This Fr. Tom now spoke Spanish very well, and had even learned Maya while in Mexico. After moving back to Windsor, his Spanish and love of Mexican people and culture earned him a special place in the heart of the Latino community. He ministered to all his flock, but he took special interest in Latinos and helped them out in many ways, beyond the usual baptisms, marriages and quinceañeras. When people needed a job, they came to him. When they had legal problems, they came to him, and he would often ask a friend, a local rich high profile lawyer, to help them out. He loaned money to people unable to pay the rent, who needed to go back to Mexico to see a dying relative, who were low on groceries at the end of the month, who had to see a doctor, etc. He let homeless guys stay at the rectory, or the building on the property, until they got on their feet or dried out. He directed people to “businessmen” who produced chuecas. *cough*
For his involvement in the Latino community, he was rewarded with a transfer to the middle of nowhere in Humboldt County, far from any Mexicans.