One of Margarita Luna’s fondest memories was the day she made her First Holy Communion. “It was December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” she recalled. “I was eight years old, and it was the first time I had ever eaten cake!”
When she was a small child growing up in Jalisco, Mexico, one of her favorite things to do was to help the nuns clean the church. By the time Margarita was fifteen, her father had died. “My mother needed help feeding and clothing my nine brothers and sisters, so I joined my sister, who was 17, and moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, to find work.” The two sisters cleaned houses in Guadalajara for many years until they moved to America in 1970.
They settled in Los Angeles, Calif., where they continued to provide domestic cleaning services. Six years later, Margarita married Salvador Luna. In 1996, with their seven children, they moved to Idaho. In Boise, Margarita found employment with the Meridian School District, where she worked as a janitor until she retired from the district in 2008.
Margarita told us that her prayer is always one of gratitude to God for the miracles He gives us daily.
In particular, she recalls a difficult moment in her life when her eldest son collapsed one day at home. He was very sick, and the doctors gave him very little chance to live after they found clots in his heart and lungs. Margarita admits this was a very difficult moment in which she and her family prayed together to God for their son’s health, knowing that only God has the final word.
Faced with this diagnosis, the doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital said her son would only live for a few days. But their son recovered and the doctors themselves recognized that his recovery was unexpected. Margarita believes that through the faith of the family and their trust in God’s power, God granted them a great miracle. Seven years have passed, and their son, now 49 years old, is still in good health.
She recalls that before coming to their current parish of St. Mary’s in Boise, where they have been parishioners for more than 25 years, they made a long pilgrimage to different chapels and parishes in Boise and the surrounding area, searching for a Mass in Spanish.
The first Spanish language Mass they found was in Nampa, at Our Lady of Guadalupe, but the fierce winter that year (1997) prevented them from attending regularly. More often, they went to Sacred Heart which was closer. In addition to the Mass in English, some of the deacons were able to provide a Liturgy of the Word in Spanish.
Eventually, they arrived at St. Mary’s in Boise where Father Arnold Miller, to their surprise, was able to learn Spanish very quickly and celebrate the Mass in their native language.
“We have been very happy here at St. Mary’s,” she said with a big smile.
The parish staff at St. Mary’s find Margarita to be someone “you can always count on.” She helps with Bible classes and works on sacramental retreats. “She is very reliable,” said Gloria Munoz, one of the staff members. “Being part of church ministries makes me happy,” she said. “It gives me a purpose because I like to be useful.”
This busy lady recently celebrated her 75th birthday and has turned “being useful” in her parish into a lifestyle. She works with newly married couples in the Sagrada Familia program, whose purpose is to build strong families. She shows up to tend the little ones while their parents and older siblings attend sacramental classes. She also offers her services in the parish hospitality ministry and is a member of the Hispanic Council.
She acknowledged that it is thanks to the priests that her faith has grown. The Gospel message she receives each time they preach keeps her “united to God’s will.”
Margarita doesn’t like talking about her own accomplishments, but she will talk about her time spent in parish liturgical ministries. Besides being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, she also proclaims the Scriptures at Mass. In fact, Margarita is one of the volunteer coordinators of Lector ministry. With obvious emotion, Margarita explained how spiritually blessed she feels to be able to proclaim God’s Word to her Hispanic brothers and sisters.
“It fills my spirit to have the chance to make a difference. All service belongs to God and is for the community,” she concluded.
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