In February, Archbishop Kurtz met with two dozen unaccompanied minors in El Paso before Pope Francis said Mass on the other side of the border.
He asked them their dreams, and they said they wanted only to work, to study and to join their family.
"Quickly I asked: 'not also to pray?' and without a pause they said 'Yes, to pray to God to help'," he recounted.
"Our nation is on thin ice when refugees are spoken of in the abstract," Archbishop Kurtz said. "After I met the unaccompanied youth seeking reunion with their families, the issue became very clear. Surely the situations are complex but the voiceless remain anonymous unless there is a face to the voice."
He encouraged the bishops to find in such people these "flashes of inspiration and encouragement that come to us from God."
The archbishop listed several challenges facing the bishops: threats to the global community, especially religious persecution, and challenges within the United States, related to the dignity of the human person.
He also mentioned possible problems for American Catholics, citing "challenges to unity in truth and charity within our Church as we tirelessly announce the good news of Jesus Christ, to draw all to Christ and to walk with all toward conversion."
Archbishop Kurtz recounted the encouragement he had received from his friend and mentor, the late Bishop emeritus David B Thompson of Charleston. He also encouraged the bishops to pay attention to one another and to remember that they are a "family, a 'communio' of pastors."
"Just as a family seeks to serve each other as a prerequisite for authentic service beyond, so we do too. If not, our pastoral hearts will be shallow and short lived with others," he said.
He voiced gratitude to the bishops and the bishops' conference staff
Archbishop Kurtz closed with a reflection on his episcopal motto "Hope in the Lord."
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"This is not a pie-in-the-sky hope but a hope grounded in the reality of God's grace in the midst of challenges," he said.