US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Catholic university presidents join Ash Wednesday fasting for immigration

By Elizabeth Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
blog Justice

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the start of the Lenten season, where the focus turns to praying, fasting, and doing good works. And there are certainly many people, groups, and situations to keep in mind while undertaking these Lenten practices. As one example, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, head of the USCCB, in a statement today connected the season to the ongoing tensions in Ukraine, saying:  “I ask U.S. Catholic communities, gathering for the beginning of Lent on Wednesday, to pray for a peaceful resolution of this crisis, one that secures the just and fundamental human rights of a long-suffering, oppressed people.”

In another act, Faith in Public Life announced that several Catholic college and university presidents joined together to participate in Fast for Families, which aims to address immigration in the United States. More than two dozen of the leaders signed a statement that read: “On Ash Wednesday, we pledge to join the Fast for Families and fast for 24 hours as an act of solidarity and prayer for those who still suffer because of cruel and impractical immigration policies. As we begin this sacred season and remember Christ’s journey of suffering in the desert wilderness, we pray for immigrants who hunger and thirst for justice.We invite our students, faculty and fellow administrators of our respective colleges and universities to join this communal act of prayer.”

Hope are high that when President Obama travels to the Vatican later this month, immigration will be among the topics that the two leaders discuss. While the president has seen plans for immigration reform languish in Congress, Pope Francis has been vocal in supporting the plight of migrants across the globe, saying in a message last summer: "Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more."