“A huge steel wire fence … separate Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Sonora,” was the Christmas Day description reported in a 1936 Columbia. Not only the border was closed. Due to Calles Law, enacted ten years earlier, Mexican churches were locked and without priests.
"We hear a lot about keeping Christ in Christmas. These poor people [in Nogales, Sonora] had neither Christ nor Mass in Christmas,” noted Monsignor Louis Duval, pastor of the Sacred Heart Church, in the Columbia article. In 1936, Catholics in Mexico were still experiencing religious persecution under the Calles Law, which was repealed in 1938.
The article goes on to describe the actions of Council 1784 to bring Christmas to residents of its sister city. The citizens of Nogales, Arizona, donated 50 pairs of new shoes, 100 large bags filled with groceries, 325 sacks of flour, 350 woolen blankets, candies, apples, toys, and about 100 sweaters to their Mexican neighbors.
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