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On the last Saturday of June, the morning began with coffee and quiche. The early sun warmed the morning promising a bright and sunny day as over 2000 demonstrators gathered along the shore of Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA for the Families Belong Together rally. Local geese, families with their children and adults, gathered with the thousands of Americans, across the country, demanding the reunification of immigrant families seeking refuge from the tyranny of physical and emotional violence. Many speakers and musicians addressed the injustice encountered by immigrant families at the southern border of the United States.
However, as I sat with my mother who gladly joined me at the rally, I felt a growing gloom as I considered the anguish of parents and children forcibly separated by the cruel and in-inhumane policies of the government that represents this country. A country once called “a city on the hill.” As I walked to the gathering site for the demonstration, I encountered another aging man who shared my gloomy feelings, asking, “how many times do we have to meet like this?” Indeed, how many times? As the families and adults gathered, I heard in the speeches and music the answer to our common question: “as many times as the vulnerable and powerless are harmed and treated unjustly.” As the crowd swelled my spirits began to rise, there was a spirit of compassion weaving its thread throughout the crowd. Many signs, in one way or another, spoke of “building bridges, not walls.”
While with this crowd, and standing in solidarity with the many children and parents being denied their intrinsic right of being family, I was reminded that my participation in this rally was my solidarity with the nameless children and parents, as well as my solidarity with my Oblate brothers and their parishioners who know the names and their humanity.
Together, compassion has taken to the streets and the national demonstrations and the presence of my Oblate brothers and the many volunteers, echoed the words of St. Augustine: “an unjust law is no law at all.”
Protect Immigrant Children and Families and Keep Them Together June 20th, 2018
“And who is my neighbor?”
He answered, ‘The one who treated him with mercy.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
Luke 10: 29; 36-37
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate – JPIC Ministry expresses solidarity with many religious voices and communities in condemning the separation of children from their parents at the U.S/Mexico border. We support the concerns as expressed by other Catholic voices including United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that migrant children and families seeking safety must be kept together. A zero tolerance policy of separating children from their parents is not a deterrent. As people of faith, we are called to stand and protect the dignity of poor and abandoned people, especially vulnerable children and parents crossing the border.
“When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us.”
(Pope Francis to Join Session of U.S Congress- September 24, 2015).
Tell Congress to Stop Separating Families & Protect Family Unity. Join U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign action calling for the protection of immigrant children and families seeking safety and shelter from violence by keeping these families together.
God: We pray for all people. We pray for those who leave their countries of origin in search for a better life for their families. Help us to stand strong in our actions of solidarity and prayers. Give courage to elected leaders to do the right thing of enacting laws that protects all immigrant children and their families. You always make something new in each one of us. With your help, let us build a better world for all people. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Five Things You Can Do to End Family Separation: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Five-Ways-You-Can-Help-Stop-Family-Separation.pdf
On June 20, the Trump Administration announced an executive order on family separation. Together with other faith partners, we will provide an update in the coming days on whether this order ends the zero-tolerance policy on migrant families.
A Stranger and You Welcomed Me December 28th, 2015
National Migration Week 2016
National Migration Week will be observed January 3 to 9. The theme for the 2016 observance is, “A Stranger and You Welcomed Me.” Oblate JPIC is inviting you to use this opportunity to pray, raise awareness and educate your communities on the issue of immigration and Catholic Social Teaching.
We are a community called and gathered by you, God. Your son, Jesus, lived your love in a community of apostles and disciples and invited them to look after one another. We ask you to help us not to forget that we all are called to imitate the example of your Son among ourselves.
The Church hears the suffering cry of all who are uprooted from their own land, of families forcefully separated, of those who, in the rapid changes of our day, are unable to find a stable home anywhere. She senses the anguish of those without rights, without any security, at the mercy of every kind of exploitation, and she supports them in their unhappiness. [We are called to work] so that every person’s dignity is respected, the immigrant is welcomed as a brother or sister, and all humanity forms a united family, which knows how to appreciate with discernment the different cultures, which comprise it.
(Pope John Paul II Message for World Migration Day 2000)
We pray that you provide your divine protection to all migrants, particularly those who are driven from their homes due to war or violence, who are uprooted due to environmental degradation and climate change, or whose material poverty pushes them to find opportunities elsewhere.
Show us how we might reach out to these vulnerable populations and help them to begin a new life in a new home. Open our hearts, so that we may provide hospitality for all who come in search of refuge. Give us the courage to welcome every stranger, as Christ in our midst. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
(Prayer from USCCB National Migration Week 2016)
We pray for all people. We pray for those who leave their countries of origin in search for a better life for their families. Help us to stand strong in our actions of solidarity and prayers. Give courage to our elected leaders to do the right thing of enacting laws that protects all immigrant families.You always make something new in each one of us.
With your help, let us build a better world for all people.We pray in Jesus name.
Specific resources for National Migration Week 2016 can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-and-refugee-services/national-migration-week/
Support Families Facing Deportation! November 6th, 2014
From November 5th through November 13th, the US Catholic Bishops are running a campaign based on the feast of St. Frances of Cabrini, the patroness of immigrants. The Bishops are urging people to call the White House to convey this message: Protect as many immigrants and their families as possible from deportation.
Family Detention: the National and Local Catholic Response October 6th, 2014
Family detentions are increasing in number across the United State. Sign up for a webinar offered by USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants campaign: Learn more about these detentions, get talking points and listen to a clear analysis of the current situation and the human rights issues for immigrant families being detained in immigrant detention facilities. Find out how you can advocate with your local law makers as well as assist immigrant families currently facing detention within your community.
Friday October 10th at 2pm EST