In continuing with the push for more discussions on immigration, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and The Catholic University of America will host an immigration conference, “The Catholic Church and Immigration: Pastoral, Policy and Social Perspectives,” at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. on March 21.
Immigration and the Church
Parishes looking for more information and educational material on the U.S. bishops' views on immigration reform can be found at www.justiceforimmigrants.org, a site sponsored by the U.S. bishops.
Resources such as suggestions for homilists, statements from Archbishop José Gomez and others, answers to questions such as 'why don't they come here legally' and more are found at the Web site.
Currently, the campaign is encouraging people to send postcards (found on the Web site) calling for immigration reform to their representative and senators in the United States Congress.
NEW YORK -- Thursday evening, Daniela Alulema looked out into the pews of the Church of the Holy Family and asked everyone gathered for a Woodstock Theological Center forum on migration to think back to when they were 14 years old.
“Now think about what would happen if, all of a sudden, your parents told you tomorrow you were leaving -- ‘We’re going to start a new life,’” she said. “That’s what happened to me when I was 14 years old.”
As part of the NCR Blog effort to put a human face on the immigration issue, here is a short but powerful documentary about a group of women in the southeastern Mexican state of Veracruz who provide food for the desperate Central American migrants passing by on the tops of trains bound for the U.S border.
LOS ANGELES -- In speeches the same day, Los Angeles' cardinal and its coadjutor archbishop talked about immigration in the United States, with one calling some of the rhetoric about the issue "not worthy of the Gospel," and the other saying the current system "is an immoral system that thrives upon the weakness and suffering of those without a voice."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The message "to welcome the stranger" reverberated throughout the weekend here at an immigration conference sponsored by the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Panels of immigrants, bishops, church ministries, and immigrant aid groups urged reform during the conference, located at Rockhurst University.
After a Mass concelebrated by Bishop Robert Finn of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese and Bishop George Murry of the Youngstown diocese, some 200 conference participants heard keynote speaker Murry discuss the church teachings on immigration and the need to reform current U.S. immigration policies.
Read the full story here: Conference calls for 'comprehensive and just' immigration reform
The 2008 raid on a Postville, Iowa, meatpacking plant by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that ignited church efforts for a more just immigration policy is now the subject of a documentary, "abUSed: The Postville Raid," by Luis Argueta and Vivian Rivas.
Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Kansas City - St. Joseph diocese Feb. 4 warmly greeted visitors to a two day diocesan Immigration conference, in a homily linking U.S. abortion and immigration laws, saying both are unjust and require change.
During a conference opening mass, he explained the biblical mandates which have moved him to support immigration reform and open his arms and heart to the undocumented.
In the Fall of 2010 I was invited to celebrate the Eucharist in the detention center in El Paso. The detention center houses 800 persons who have been picked up by the border patrol for immigration violations. Most were from Mexico, but others were from Pakistan, Romania, and Africa. I passed through the security gates and saw uniformed officers, rows of border patrol SUV’s, barbed wire, cameras, grey bricked buildings. A patrol van was parked with the rear door opened.
I can still feel the terror that struck me when I saw the large box of steel shackles glistening in the sun. “Chains for human beings”, I thought. A different kind of slavery is still lurking in our midst. I realized I had just walked into the world where 800 people had exchanged their former identities to become “detainees” waiting “to be processed” and deported.
We would like to spread the word about the new Freedom from Fear award, founded by Geri Mannion and Taryn Higashi, co-recipients of the Council on Foundations 2009 Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking.
The “Freedom from Fear” award is a new national award that will honor fifteen ordinary people who have committed extraordinary acts of courage on behalf of immigrants and refugees — individuals who have taken a risk, set an example, and inspired others to awareness or action. The award seeks to honor unsung heroes who are not professional advocates. Based on nominations from ordinary people, awardees will receive $5,000 cash awards.
The Freedom From Fear Award takes its name from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous “four freedoms” speech 70 years ago in which he outlined four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy:
•Freedom of speech and expression;
•Freedom of religion;
•Freedom from want; and
•Freedom from fear.
The deadline for nominations is Feb. 28, 2011.