Philadelphia, Pa., Mar 18, 2017 / 04:32 am
As fears of deportation threaten to keep many immigrants home from a prayer service on Sunday, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia is calling on citizens and legal residents to attend the event in support.
“As a Church that herself bore the cross of hatred toward immigrants, our Catholic past is a compelling reason to welcome the immigrants and refugees among us today,” the archbishop said in his latest CatholicPhilly column.
“These persons and families need our help. They are not strangers but friends. And how we treat them will prove or disprove whether we take our Christian discipleship seriously.”
A statement from the archdiocese noted that Archbishop Chaput is planning to lead a prayer service for immigrants and refugees at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 4:00 p.m. on March 19.
However, the statement noted, “because of recent ICE actions to detain and deport the undocumented, immigrants may avoid the very service intended to show them the Church’s support.”
Archbishop Chaput called on all Catholic citizens and legal residents in the Greater Philadelphia area to attend the prayer service in a demonstration of solidarity for the immigrant community in the region.
He also addressed the broader issue of immigration in his column for the archdiocesan paper.
“For immigrants and refugees now in the United States, or who hope to come here in the near future, recent weeks have been a steady diet of anxiety and confusion,” he said, pointed to the legal battle on travel bans that has created uncertainty for those seeking to flee persecution or be reunited with their families.