The U.S. bishops have called on Catholics to stand in solidarity with all migrants, including immigrants, refugees and human trafficking victims. Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino issued the call for the 25th annual National Migration Week, Jan. 8-14, on behalf of the bishops’ conference.
The theme for 2006 is Journey to Justice. Bishop Barnes cited the joint pastoral letter by the U.S. and Mexican bishops, titled "Strangers No Longer, Together on the Journey of Hope":
“From its founding to the present, the United States remains a nation of immigrants grounded in the firm belief that newcomers offer new energy, hope and cultural diversity,” the pastoral letter reads. “Our common faith in Jesus Christ moves us to search for ways that favor a spirit of solidarity. It is a faith that transcends borders and bids us to overcome all forms of discrimination and violence so that we may build relationships that are just and loving.”
Bishop Barnes said migrants to the U.S. too often face discrimination and exploitation. “For that reason, the bishops, along with a broad coalition of Catholic organizations have committed themselves to changing minds and hearts through the national Justice for Immigrants: Together on the Journey of Hope campaign,” the bishop explained.
He said by embracing newcomers in a spirit of peace and hope, the people truly form the Body of Christ.