.- The Catholic Church in the U.S. will celebrate National Migration Week from January 3-9 to focus on the needs of migrant and refugee children. Pope Benedict XVI has chosen minor migrants and refugees as the theme for the 2010 World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, said that children are an “exceptionally vulnerable population” who are easily exploited and abused.
“This is particularly true when they are undocumented and unaccompanied in a foreign country and, all too often, with nobody to turn to for help,” he said in a USCCB statement.
The Committee on Migration is producing materials in English and Spanish which include bulletin inserts, prayer cards and an Advent booklet. These can be ordered through the USCCB publishing office.
The Committee is also coordinating the creation of a new educational website with the Catholic University of America to focus on the role the Catholic Church played in the U.S. immigration debate throughout the twentieth century.
A small grants program is also being developed to provide seed money to parishes, schools and local Catholic organizations who want to launch a migration-related project or program.
The U.S. National Migration Week is based on the theme “Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice.”
Its website is at http://www.usccb.org/mrs/nmw/index.shtml