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Mission for migrants: U.S. Bishops urge Congress to pass immigration reform bill

2014-05-30

American bishops took their push for immigration reform to U.S. Capital. Archbishop of Miami presided Mass at Capitol Hill for migrant families, affected by a broken system.

 "When laws fail to advance the common good, they can and they should be changed.”

The liturgical celebration was one in a series of events the bishops participated in, to pressure Congress into passing a comprehensive immigration bill, before the current session ends in August.

MSGR. EUSEBIO ELIZONDO
Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle (USA)
 "This is a moral urgency for all of us so we need to stand together and keep on pressing on that and hopefully we can find some light very soon.”

MSGR. RICARDO RAMIREZ
Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces (USA)
"We want something permanent, something that would come from the representatives of the people of the United States; that are the Congressmen and the Senators. We want laws to pass, not just a presidential decree.”

The bishops, representing diocese all over the country, met with Democrat and Republican lawmakers on Thursday, sharing their experience at the Arizona border in April. 

The group, led by Boston Card. Sean O'Malley, walked along the unforgiving desert areas used by immigrants to get across. They also celebrated Mass, with the incessant border wall as their backdrop.

FR. GERARD KINCANAS
Bishop of Tucson (USA)
"When there's a faceless person it's very easy to reject, or ignore, or put aside an individual. But when you hear someone's name and you hear their story, you feel their pain. There is an attitude change that takes place.”

The bishops hope this change can lead to meaningful action. They frequently cite the Gospel, and even the example Pope Francis set in Lampedusa, to denounce indifference, and to call for solutions focused on human dignity and compassion. They said, it's a big part of the Catholic identity, especially in the U.S.  

MSGR. THOMAS WENSKI
Archbishop of Miami (USA)
"There's not many Catholics in this country that are more than one generation, or two generations removed from the immigrant experience, so it's our story.”

Whether lawmakers will heed their calls for immigration reform remains to be seen. Regardless, U.S. Bishops said they will continue speaking out until their message gets across and becomes a reality.


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