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On a beautiful and sunny Sunday afternoon, approximately 100 migrant agriculture workers joined the Spanish community in downtown Bradford, Ontario to celebrate El Sembrador’s annual barbeque. Two of the workers won brand new bicycles donated by Students Against Migrant Exploitation (SAME). The festivities included an array of Spanish food specialties from Latin America and music to please the crowd.
The Spanish community at Holy Martyrs of Japan Parish in Bradford has serviced the migrant agricultural workers for more than five years, with seasonal Sunday Spanish masses, followed by coffee and social time, affording migrant workers an opportunity to meet and get to know community churchgoers and make new friends outside of work. This initiative is due to the great work that has been carried out by the group El Sembrador, which is literally translated as “The Sower”.
The El Sembrador church initiative was originally created in 2001 by the Catholic Parish Social Ministry in Newmarket and Bradford with the objective to provide spiritual outreach and service to migrant workers in the area. July 31,marks one year since the community lost their beloved Spiritual Guide and Parish Priest, Father Jose Maria Naranjo. Despite mourning the loss of this important figure, they have been blessed with a new Parish Priest and Spiritual Guide in Rev. Father Juan Treviño, who is fully committed to ensuring that masses run in this parish for the full year and not just seasonally, as well as participating in every aspect of this ministry at Holy Martyrs of Japan Parish.
UFCW Canada was proud to take part in this community event, along with other community partners including the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), and the Mayor of Bradford. “It is a real pleasure to take part in such an important event," said UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. "This gathering not only recognizes the invaluable work of migrant farm workers in the area, but provides a space for sharing and celebration which welcomes all workers into the Church and the community".