Pastoral Migratoria is putting religious and civic agency into the hands of immigrants.
In a third-floor classroom of a Chicago urban Catholic school, about 25 adults gathered on a chilly October night to learn about Catholic social justice teaching and how to take steps to make it happen.
Some came straight from work in their employee uniforms. Others gulped down a hasty snack before class. All were immigrants to the United States and participating in Pastoral Migratoria, a leadership peer-to-peer empowerment ministry that is spreading across the country.
In the past two years, the situation of migrants has changed drastically, says a Claretian priest working at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Claretian Father Carl Quebedeaux has worked in Juárez, Mexico for the past four years. The parish he serves, Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, or Our Lady of Hope, is located near the fence on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sister Ann Durst believes that the immigration crisis requires a faith-based response.
Two nuns in a condo. That’s all Casa Cornelia Law Center was in 1992 when it began. The San Diego-based pro bono immigration law center now employs more than 30 full-time staff members and hundreds of volunteers. Since its beginning, the law center has provided critical legal assistance and humanitarian protection to more than 15,000 vulnerable men, women, and children.
Christians are called to harbor refugees as if they were the Christ child on the run.
It’s nearly lunchtime in the west Michigan city of Kalamazoo. “Auntie” Saheeda Perveen Nadeem, 64, stands over the stove in the kitchen at First Congregational United Church of Christ (FCUCC) preparing a nutritious lunch for 20 children living in poverty.
The real story of Jesus' birth can't be tied with a pretty bow.
The account of Jesus’ birth in Luke’s gospel is a familiar story. It relates a miraculous conception announced by an angel; a young girl’s trusting assent to this divine message; a birth in a cozy stable (the rude smells overlooked by countless Christmas pageants and Las Posadas processions); a joyful announcement by an angelic chorus; and a touching scene of awestruck shepherds greeting a newborn child. Luke’s infancy narrative shapes our imagination of the Christmas story into a tale of glad tidings and hope-filled joy.
Those who welcome the stranger step into eternal life.
Anyone who imagines Jesus has no stake in the debate about our treatment of the stranger at our borders needs to attend more Bible study. One of his most beloved parables concerns a good Samaritan: unwelcome in Israelite territory because he wasn’t “one of them,” a descendent of despised transplants who didn’t belong. The Samaritan alone shows compassion for an injured Israelite who, if he’d been in full vigor, might well have cursed him. Jesus pronounces the Samaritan a true neighbor.
The United States must protect all those facing religious oppression, whatever their faith.
Asia Bibi, perhaps the world’s best-known victim of religious persecution, may finally have found the peace and security she deserves when she joined her family in Canada on May 7. Imprisoned under Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy law, Bibi, a Catholic, had been accused in 2009 of making derogatory remarks about Islam by coworkers displeased about sharing water with a Christian woman.
The city of El Paso united to support migrants in the midst of crisis.
Ranchera music bounced out of the novelty and discount clothing stores as the 25-year-old Jesuit in formation made his way through downtown El Paso, Texas to Annunciation House, a shelter for migrants and refugees. Aromas of menudo, tamales, chorizo, and huevos frying in the pan wafted through alleyways. Storefronts and billboards advertised in Spanish as often as in English. Not far away, an 18-foot metal fence stretched for miles between the border, with familiar white and green Border Patrol vehicles stationed intermittently on both sides.
U.S. intervention has laid the groundwork for decades of civil war in Latin America that is driving migrants north.
Watching a huddled mass escape Central America this fall inspired an urge among many to rush to the border with food and water, while others chose to politicize the spectacle with calumny and disdain. President Trump ginned up his base before the midterm elections by repeatedly describing the so-called migrant caravan as an “invasion.”
Like Mary and Joseph, Central American migrants need a safe place to stay in an unfamiliar city.
The Christmas story is one of forced travel, of uncertainty, of a search for a safe place to stay in an unfamiliar city.
For Joseph and Mary that safe place was a manger in Bethlehem after learning there was no room for them anywhere else. For many Central Americans that place is La 72, a shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico.