The U.S. bishops' migration committee is calling for prayer and action during National Migration Week to ease the struggles of immigrants coming to America.
“Catholics have a responsibility to welcome newcomers into our communities and parishes, help them integrate and provide material and spiritual support that will allow them to flourish,” said Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the committee.
“National Migration Week is an opportunity for the Church to remember and reflect on these obligations,” he explained in a Jan. 2 statement.
Begun more than 25 years ago by the U.S. bishops, National Migration Week is observed in dioceses throughout America on Jan. 6-12 this year, offering an opportunity for Catholics to grow in their appreciation for the Church’s diversity.
The theme for this year’s migration week is “We are Strangers No Longer: Our Journey of Hope Continues.”
This theme celebrates the 10th anniversary of a joint pastoral letter issued by the bishops’ conferences in Mexico and the United States. Entitled, “Strangers No Longer: Together on a Journey of Hope,” that letter reflects on the challenges and obstacles of migration between the two countries.
Calling for solidarity and evangelization, the letter emphasizes that the “human dignity and human rights” of all immigrants must be respected.
Posters, prayer cards and booklets for the 2013 National Migration Week are offered on the bishops’ conference website.
In addition to prayer, the bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services is inviting Catholics to participate in a postcard campaign calling for Congress and the Obama administration to work towards comprehensive immigration reform.
There is a great need to institute “a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the country,” the campaign stresses.
It also calls for the preservation of “family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system” and for “legal paths for low-skilled immigrant workers” to enter and work in the U.S.
The campaign further urges the nation’s leaders to return “due process protections to immigration enforcement policies” and to deal with “the root causes of migration caused by persecution and economic disparity.”