Part II: Immigration “I was a stranger and you invited me in” (Matthew 25:35)

It is said that when one sense is lost, the others become stronger to make up for the lost sight, hearing, smell, etc. As a Church body, this is a concept we can relate to. In our parishes we often come together to support a member who is in need or we contribute time and money to build up the Church and community. In an era of humanitarian and environmental crisis, we are now called to better understand our role as a part of a body of global citizens.

The first letter to the Corinthians (“For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink,” 12:13) speaks of this concept: God creating all of humanity in His image and likeness has entered us into a communion and fellowship. Jesus becoming fully man while remaining fully divine redefines human eschatology, renewing our spirit and bringing us into the fullness of eternal life. 1 Corinthians 12:22 states, “On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” While the imperfections of our nature lead us so often to hold onto differences, it is important to understand that these divisions only work to weaken the body and disrespect God’s creation.

Our faith stresses the importance of family life; during the Christmas season we are uplifted by the Holy Family. When Jesus addresses the crowds, he calls them his “mother and brothers” after being told his family is looking for him;For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:49). This August, we saw the devastating separation of families who had crossed the border into the United States. The USCCB has continued to be outspoken about the hardships of immigrants, migrants and refugees during these difficult times. In the 1999 apostolic exhortation, “Ecclesia in America,” Pope John Paul II states, “Attention must be called to the rights of migrants and their families and to respect for their human dignity, even in cases of non-legal immigration” (Ecclesia in America, p. 65). More recently, on June 1st, Most Reverend Joseph S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, stated “forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary to our Catholic values.”

As a country, we have a right to be concerned about border safety and national security. However, it is our duty as children of God to first and foremost recognize the dignity present in each human being. Dehumanizing the other equally important parts of the worldly body by labeling them as “illegals” denies their fundamental importance as human beings. Throughout history, we have seen refugees and migrants flee from persecution and danger; they seek a better life for themselves and their children and they often continue to thrive as a family unit. Jesus came for all; the rich and poor, strong and weak, man and woman, etc.

Therefore, we too, are called to recognize the dignity bestowed by God onto each human person, a dignity that remains unchanged by environment, society, or the world.

In a few short months, we will enter into the Advent season and be reminded of the example of the Holy Family. As a body of worldly believers, let us better focus on rehabilitating and supporting each part of our community.

As Catholics, we recognize the power of prayer. Our Lady of Guadalupe helps us in our quest to help those desperately in need of mercy, compassion, and love.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Hail Mary, Lady of Peace

We pray for the peace in our world;

make us peacemakers.

Hail Mary, Friend of Common People,

Unite us across economic lines; together let us

raise up the cause of the oppressed.

Hail Mary, Mother of Mexico,

Help us both appreciate Latin America’s culture

and work to end its poverty.

Hail Mary, Mother of the Infant Jesus,

We pray for all children who are victims of

war and hunger; let us stand for them.

Hail Mary, Wife of the Carpenter, Joseph,

We pray for the rights of hardworking laborers

in all the world; let their dignity

be recognized.

Hail Mary, Woman of All Generations,

Move us to speak for the elderly who lack

adequate health care and shelter.

Hail Mary, Homeless Mother,

We pray for those without homes;

let us advocate for affordable housing.

Hail Mary, Lady of All Colors,

Show us how to love all people by

challenging racism and discrimination.

Hail Mary, Mother of Our World,

Make us global citizens, working for justice and

well-being in all the world.

About the Author
Danielle Santevecchi is a third year Theology student at St. John’s University currently enrolled in the 5 year Bachelor’s and Master’s dual-degree program. She worked as a summer intern at the Diocesan Respect Life Office and now currently works as an intern at the Diocesan Office of Faith Formation. At St. John’s. Danielle is a member of two different honor societies and she recently traveled with members of Campus Ministry on a mission of service and prayer to Lourdes, France.

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