National Migration Week – Praying for Immigration Justice
At the apex of political debate surrounding immigration, we are asked to consider our role in addressing immigrants’ rights in connection with our faith. National Migration Week provides a chance to examine the current injustice and oncoming polarization immigrants face, and our responsibility to promote inclusivity in our faith community. First, we must understand the root of the problem.
“A Nation of Immigrants” was a title held by the United States during the early years of the country’s development.1 Due to its bountiful opportunities and resources, the United States remains a magnet for passionate, young, driven immigrants seeking a better future; however, with an immigration process that can sometimes take up to twenty years to complete, many immigrants fall victim to the consequences of being undocumented, unemployed, and lacking healthcare.2 “More than 10 million undocumented aliens currently reside in the United States, and the illegal immigration rate is growing by 700,000 per year”. Unfortunately, due to an understandable increased concern with terrorism and national security, policy regarding this arduous process has been neglected and put off in the midst of deportation incentives.3
“Unfortunately, in our contemporary culture we often fail to encounter migrants as persons, and instead look at them as unknown others, if we even notice them at all. We do not take the time to engage migrants in a meaningful way, as fellow children of God, but remain aloof to their presence and suspicious or fearful of them. During this National Migration Week, let us all take the opportunity to engage migrants as community members, neighbors, and friends.” – The United States Conference of Bishops.
As a community dedicated to removing barriers, we must center our faith around working towards equality and acceptance in our community. Migration week presents the opportunity to heal the divides between neighbors in the face of complex legislation and policy. By embracing the multitude of cultures present in our nation, we are one step closer to achieving the ultimate American dream of uninhibited human prosperity and love.
By Tamia Fowlkes and Tess Murphy, Vocare Interns from Divine Savior Holy Angels High School
Kane, Tim, and Kirk Johnson. “The Real Problem with Immigration. and the Real Solution.” The Heritage Foundation, CNN, 1 Mar. 2006, www.heritage.org/immigration/report/the-real-problem-immigration-and-the-real-solution.
Strauss, Valerie. ” Education leaders vow to keep helping ‘Dreamers’ even as Trump is expected to end program.” The Washington Post, 4 Sept. 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/09/04/education-leaders-vow-to-keep-helping-dreamers-even-as-trump-is-expected-to-end-program/?utm_term=.97731404b703. Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.
” Benefits of Immigration Outweigh the Costs.” George W. Bush Institute, 2016, www.bushcenter.org/catalyst/north-american-century/benefits-of-immigration-outweigh-costs.html.
A Prayer for Centering
We beseech you, open our hearts
so that we may provide hospitality and refuge
to migrants who are lonely, afraid,
and far from their homes.
Give us the courage to welcome every stranger
as Christ in our midst,
to invite them into our communities
as a demonstration of Christ’s love for us.
We pray that when we encounter the other,
we see in her the face of your Son,
when we meet a stranger,
that we take his hand in welcome.
Help us to live in solidarity with one another,
to seek justice for those who are persecuted
and comfort for those who are suffering.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Invitation to Silence
The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonors the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.
Weekly Reflection Questions/Invitation to Growth
(Circling back to the Bryan Massingale article – www.tinyurl.com/massingaleamerica)
We don’t know what we are talking about – a) Do you have an understanding of how racism intersects with the imimgration issue in the US? b) If not – how can you educate yourself on this issue? C) Do you have any relationships with undocumented people in this country? Have you asked them about their experience of racial bias, their experience with finding a path to citizenship?
We don’t know how to talk about it – What can you do to gain confidence in talking about and advocating for immigration policy reform that honors the dignity of immigrants from all parts of the globe? Have you engaged with the Catholic programs that advocate for immigrant justice (Justice for Immigrants is the USCCB arm that focuses on advocacy for immigrants in the US)?
We do not want to talk about it – Often, our engagement on a social justice issue stems from the relationships in our lives. If we do not have relationships with people who are undocumented immigrants to this country, we may not have the desire to seek justice on this issue. What personal connections do you have – and if you have none –what is your strategy for deepening relationships with our immigrant neighbors?
For more information on immigration justice go to:
7 Steps to Engage your Faith Community for Immigration Justice
MLK Day weekend events:
Jan 12-13 T.O.T.S. MLK weekend featuring Pastor Richard Shaw of St Matthew CME as lecturer and Keynoter. Fri Jan 12 Lecture/luncheon 11:30-2pm,Tickets $25. Sat Jan 13 Prayer Breakfast 9:30-11:30, Tickets $25. 1:30 Musical Prelude; 2pm Prayer Service. All at St Martin de Porres – 2nd and Burleigh.
Dr. MLK, Jr. Day of Service (Jan 15, 2018). See https://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday to search for local volunteering opportunities, including several at Catholic Charities in Milwaukee.
Mon Jan 15, 1pm, St Francis of Assisi Church – 1927 N. 4th Street, 1pm Program indoors, 2:30 March to Dr King Statue https://communityjournal.net/dr-m-l-king-jr-day-justice-program-march-kings-statue-monday-january-15-2018/
January 22nd Respect Life Mass at Blessed Savior Catholic Church to the list. It is at 7pm with a 6:30 Rosary. http://www.johnpaul2center.org/ArchdioceseEvents/Archdiocesan-Respect-Life-Mass-January-22-2018.htm?returnURL=%2FJohn-Paul-II%2FUpcoming-Events.htm&Date=2018-01-22T18:30
Marquette’s annual Mission Week is February 5-10.
Join us in person at the Cathedral Fridays at 12:15 PM for this 30 minute communal contemplative prayer with the intention of reconciling and healing racism in our city.
Feel free to pray privately wherever you are in solidarity with those gathered at the Cathedral if you are not able to join in person.
Brought to you by:
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Three Holy Women, Our Lady of Divine Providence, Old St. Mary’s, Saints Peter and Paul Human Concerns/Social Justice Commissions
Urban Ministry of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
For more information, please contact:
Anne Haines, Respect Life Director for Urban Ministry
Andrew Musgrave, Director of Social Justice at Three Holy Women, Old St. Mary’s, Our Lady of Divine Providence and Saints Peter and Paul Parishes
Shelly Roder, Director of Outreach Ministries at
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist