• April 4, 2020

Odessan sets up prayer wall for public - Odessa American: Local News

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Odessan sets up prayer wall for public

Structure sees fourth year in resident’s yard

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    A Christmas ornament with a prayer written on it for Mary Granados hangs on a prayer wall in front of Jesse Castaneda’s home at 2029 W. 10 St. The ornament for Granados was the first one placed on the wall.

Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2019 7:30 am

The wall in the front yard of Jesse Castaneda’s home is not there to keep people out, but to bring them together.

The structure is not built out of brick or wood, but of wires to allow people to place ornaments on it when they visit. The ornaments, Castaneda said, have short prayers written on them by the people placing them on the wall.

The purpose of his project is to inspire people, and give them hope through the holiday season.

“You hear a lot of talk about how this time of year can be hard on people, especially those who have lost loved ones or hit hard times,” Castaneda said. “I wanted to do something to give people hope and for them, it’s just an act of faith. I believe … doing something as far as writing on an ornament gives them a little hope and lets them know God still answers prayers.”

Now in its fourth year, the wall, located at 2029 W. 10th St., sees visitors from all over. Castaneda said he originally got the idea from when he taught Sunday school. The children would write short prayers on a piece of paper and then place it on the wall.

Wanting to do something similar for the public, and to keep paper from flying away with the wind, Castaneda said he thought about doing ornaments instead, which would allow people to still write down their prayers.

“The response has been great,” he said of the wall.

While he does not have an exact number of people who have stopped by his wall, Castaneda said he sees numerous people stop by his residence. Sometimes, there have been people who have made return visits.

Castaneda said last year, a car pulled up to the yard that he thought was a friend of his. Instead it was a couple who explained to him they had visited his wall last year and wanted to make a return visit.

Their reason: they had left an ornament praying to start a family.

“I could see her tummy and she was expecting, and they were really happy,” he said. “It was cool, we got to talk pictures with them.”

The annual tradition has had minor changes since its inception; however, Castaneda, a postal worker, said this year the first ornament that went up was in honor of Mary Granados.

Granados was killed Aug. 31 while delivering mail. She was one of seven people killed during the Labor Day shootings in Odessa. Twenty-five others were injured during the mass shooting.

While he did not know her personally, Castaneda said the first ornament – a mailbox with Granados’ name, along with her family and boyfriend – was put on the wall.

“One of the guys that trained her, he was the one who wrote out the prayer, and my wife wrote it on (the ornament),” Castaneda said. “I wanted to make sure hers was the first one on there.”

Castaneda’s wife, Jessica Castaneda, said her husband’s faith and commitment to the wall has been an inspiration to several people.

“He definitely feels that this is something that reaches out to the community and allows them to have a place to go,” she said. “People seem to like to come by and he likes to put the lights out and makes it look nice.”

Odessa, TX

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