Roger Mahoney

Illustration by Tim Bower

My dad was in the poultry-processing business. Our plant was on Chandler by Laurel Canyon. There were four or five men who worked for my father, and they were all of Mexican descent. I came to know them and their families, and something about their culture—the sincerity, the generosity—I just fell in love with. They helped me learn some Spanish. One day, when I was maybe ten, my dad’s plant got raided by what was then called the Border Patrol. These guys came running in with guns drawn. I’ll never forget how intimidating it was, especially for those four or five men. If I remember correctly, almost all of our employees had papers. What struck me, though, was the terror that those men with their guns created in the workplace that day. That really clinched my commitment to work with immigrant people. » Cardinal Mahony, 74, is the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles.