By Nicole Lecheler and Kathy Fanger
Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose has the privilege and honor to celebrate the lives of many people in our faith community. Silicon Valley is rich in wealth, knowledge, and success in many ways. Resume virtues are those skills and accomplishments that point to one’s external successes. Eulogy virtues are deeper. They are character virtues describing not what a person DID, but WHO they were, what their life stood for and what they will be remembered for most.
Catholic Cemeteries was honored to serve the Bustos Family as they celebrated the legacy and life of Amador Bustos. Mr. Bustos, Sr. died on December 7, 2015, one day short of his 92 birthday.
His life story as an undocumented immigrant from Aguililla, Michoacán, Mexico is profound in both his ‘resume virtues’ and his ‘eulogy virtues.’
In the 1950’s, Bustos, Sr., a teacher, earned barely enough money to get by for his wife and six children. Knowing he could earn more in California, and having a vision of one day bringing his growing family here for better opportunities, he immigrated to San Mateo. He worked very hard, often 2-3 jobs at a time, in the kitchens of hotels and hospitals and as a laborer in Salinas Valley. He went back and forth to Mexico when he could. In 1964, his wife brought their children to California to begin a new life as a complete family. His youngest son John was born a year later, on December 7, the day before his birthday. He named his son John because Mr. Bustos, Sr. idolized John F. Kennedy and his work with the Civil Rights Movement. “ I will always remember him saying, ‘I know one day you can be President of this country.’ My father believed in me, that I could do something better than work in a low-paying job.” (John Bustos)
Bustos, Sr. became an outstanding community activist pioneering “Asociación Civil Hidalgo.” He believed that education would be the path to greater opportunities for immigrants. He worked with the City Council, School Boards and financial institutions to offer bilingual education, after school programs, fair housing practices, and immigration reform. He was honored by the San Mateo County Council of Presidents for his community efforts and he was bestowed with an Honorary Associate of Arts Degree by Cañada College.
When Mr. Bustos, Sr. was dying, his son, John, drove to be with him, “Papá, I’m here to celebrate your birthday and mine.” Within 90 seconds, he let go of his spirit and died. “It was probably the greatest birthday gift I ever received to be with him then.”
Bustos, Sr. left a lasting impression and legacy of his eulogy virtues on those who encountered him…
“My father never defined himself by the jobs he had. He took great risks in crossing the border as an undocumented immigrant, working multiple jobs, being away from his family for eight years and finally becoming a U.S. citizen.”
“My parents’ Catholic faith has always been a strong pillar. It kept our family together when things became very difficult. It brought us hope.”
VISION and CONVICTION
“My dad believed that education was the path to better opportunities. He was never satisfied with the status quo. He wanted better opportunities for his children and others in the community.”
“My dad loved my mother and all of us. He especially valued unity, respect and support for one another. He loved gatherings, welcoming many. My friend said, ‘Your dad was a class act. He always made me feel like family.’”
LEGACY OF VIRTUE
About 15 years ago, my father and mother bought burial property at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. My parents did not have much extra money, but they sacrificed, never wanting to be a burden. It is a huge comfort to her that she and my dad will be buried with their family. Unity in life, unity in death.
Restorative Justice Office Provides Grief Support Group for Violent Deaths
Individuals who have lost a loved one to violence are invited to a safe, supportive and confidential environment to share stories and to remember their loved ones with others who want to share their journey of grief.
Sponsored by the diocesan Office of Restorative Justice, Sister Maryann Cantlon, CSJ states, “It is a place where we are reminded that God walks with us, giving us hope in our pain. We are not alone. Individuals are able to talk freely and support one another when others may feel they should have moved one. All are welcome and are encouraged to bring a relative or friend.” Sister Maryann is the Associate Director for the Office of Social Ministries overseeing Restorative Justice for the Diocese of San Jose.
Grief Support Group Meetings – Loss Due to Violence
WHEN: Every second Wednesday of the month 7-9 pm
LOCATION: 890 Benton Street, Santa Clara
Contact Lynne Lukenbill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-771-6225 for more information.