Catholic Missal

Relationship: Im/migrant

My mother arrived in the United States from the Philippines on September 6, 1969. She was in her early 20’s and she came alone, with big dreams and two small suitcases. Among the few things she decided to carry with her on her 8,000 mile journey  to the United States were clothes, x-rays, money, photographs and a church missal. The x-rays were mandatory because people arriving into the US were not allowed in if they had tuberculosis. The church missal on the other hand, was essential because of her faith and shows how important it was to hold on to her beliefs. It looks like a small book, it measures about 7 inches long and 5 inches wide and is quite thick. It has a plastic cover to protect it. For many Catholics a missal is important because it outlines the prayers and instructions needed to celebrate mass throughout the year. I asked my mom why she chose to bring this all the way to the United States and she said, “It was like my security blanket. I brought the missal every time I went to church, and back home in the Philippines I went to church a lot. I believed that God answered my prayers because my dream was to come to America.” My mom has been in this country for almost 50 years, but she still fondly refers to the Philippines as “home.”


Place(s): Philippines, New York,
Year: 1969

– Betsy Lasano

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant