When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘ Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him .’ Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’ ~ Matthew 1 :13-15
Friends in Christ, immigration is one of those divisive issues amongst goodnatured Catholics on both sides of the issue. With it being Respect Life Month, my intention this weekend is to clarify that it is very much a life issue, and why we as Catholics should be concerned about it.
The Scripture above is an important starting point for us when we begin to think about the issue of immigration. It reminds us that even our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, experienced the same fears and dangers that many immigrants who are seeking refuge in the United States face today. It also is a reminder that this country began as an immigrant people. Most of us, if not all of us, are here because family who came before for us sought to better their lives by coming to the United States.
Just as Joseph fled with Mary and Jesus in order to seek refuge, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops explains that undocumented immigrants face similar difficulties in their home countries: “violence from war, lack of economic opportunity to earn a livable wage, or being deprived of basic human freedoms, these issues are the motivating force for why immigrants are willing to risk so much, to often times leave everything they have, and move to another country with unfamiliar customs and cultures … This is the migration of the desperate” (USCCB: Welcoming the Stranger Among US).
Why should we be concerned about this? As Catholics, everything that we believe about the human person, is centered around the Imago Dei, that is, that all of us are created in the Image of God: God created humanity in His image; in the image of God He created them; male and female he created them ~ Genesis 1:27. All peoples, no matter their race, country of origin, gender etc. are all endowed with the image of God. Thus all peoples have this human dignity and are members of the one Christian family, For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Thus, our concern for people extends to all peoples, especially those who face crises, whether here or abroad.
The United States Council of Catholic Bishops offers us the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” to guide us on our decision making regarding Immigration:
“The Gospel mandate to ‘welcome the stranger’ requires Catholics to care for and stand with newcomers, authorized and unauthorized, including unaccompanied immigrant children, refugees and asylumseekers, those unnecessarily detained, and victims of human trafficking.” Additionally, “comprehensive reform is necessary to fix…family reunification policies…refuge for those fleeing persecution and violence; and policies to address the root causes of migration. The right and responsibility of nations to control their borders and to maintain the rule of law should be recognized but pursued in a just and humane manner. The detention of immigrants should be used to protect public safety and not for purposes of deterrence or punishment; alternatives to detention, including community-based programs, should be emphasized” (81).
To close, there are two key points to highlight from above. First, we do have a Christian duty to welcome the stranger among us, especially if there exists grave reasons for migration. At the same time, the Church recognizes both the need and duty of countries to control their borders in a humane way in order to protect the common good of the people.
My hope is that this article was both informative and challenging. As a Christian people, we must always be focused on protecting the dignity of human life. This article will not solve the issue, but I hope it at least is helpful as we open our hearts to the needs of people around us.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids invites parents who have experienced the loss of a child before baptism to a
MASS FOR GOD’S CHILDREN
Celebrated by Fr. Thomas Cavera
Friday, Nov. 3, 7:00 p.m.
Cathedral of Saint Andrew
301 Sheldon SE, Grand Rapids
A memorial rose and naming cards will be provided for families who have lost a child(ren). If you would like to reserve a rose and have your child(ren) remembered on a name card please contact Mary Pereira before Nov. 1 by calling 616-240-7896 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All are welcome to attend including parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives and friends. A reception will follow Mass.
Please join us for our Fifth Annual Falcon Awards Night
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
at the Goei Center
818 Butterworth St. SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
6 p.m. Cocktail Reception
7 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Awards Presentation
$100 per person
(Share a table with friends, 10 seats to a table)
Business Attire (with an optional splash of green)
Register online, and/or become an event sponsor
or mail to 1801 Bristol Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
The Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Office of Communications relays the following statement from
Bishop David J. Walkowiak in response to the Trump administration’s announcement to provide religious and moral exemptions from the HHS Mandate.
“Along with bishops across the United States, I applaud the actions taken by President Trump and his administration in providing exemptions to faith-based and other organizations from the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate. This mandate violated the religious freedom we hold dear and did not allow us to provide insurance coverage that was consistent with our Catholic faith.
As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stated, ‘The Administration’s decision to provide a broad religious and moral exemption to the HHS mandate recognizes that the full range of faith-based and mission-driven organizations, as well as the people who run them, have deeply held religious and moral beliefs that the law must respect.’
‘The regulations are also good news for all Americans. A government mandate that coerces people to make an impossible choice between obeying their consciences and obeying the call to serve the poor is harmful not only to Catholics but to the common good. Religious freedom is a fundamental right for all, so when it is threatened for some, it is threatened for all.’”
Help them start downthe long road to recovery
When Bishop Ramos of the Diocese of Caguas, Puerto Rico found a working phone line, he made his first call to Catholic Extension to share the immediate needs of his diocese with the hope that we could help.
These islands are in chaos, and the Catholic Church needs your support to restore essential functions and ministries, so they can help meet basic human needs and eventually rebuild these communities.
Your gift will truly transform lives.
We have received updates from bishops in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Beaumont, Texas, whose dioceses are all reeling from the hurricanes. Fellow Catholics in these areas are relying on their faith for strength.
Right now your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by some of our generous longtime donors. Your generosity will make double the impact in rebuilding the Church after the worst series of hurricanes in history. May God bless you for your generosity and prayers.
Plan on attending the Knights of Columbus breakfast on Sunday Oct 22nd between the 9:00 and 11:00 Masses. Fr. Maxis, from Haiti, will be present at this breakfast and the funds raised from it will go directly to our sister parish, St. Jacques. St. Jacques has benefitted from your generosity over the past three years with funds being directed to the school (they do not have any public ‘free’ schools in this area), a new church, water filters, food, medical teams, clothing and the like. They will need our help again this year to keep up the good works that are being done there in the name of Christ. Please come and enjoy some time with Fr. Maxis.
There will also be a second collection this same weekend at all of the Masses. Please plan for this and donate generously to this worthy cause.
The hardworking people of St. Jacques need our support to ensure a healthier place to live, a more educated future, and a chance to better the lives for their children and for generations to come.
Join us to watch Fr. Stephen represent Our Lady!
Please join Our Lady of Consolation at the 2017 North Kent Connect Pastors Square Off Event featuring Father Stephen on Thursday, October 26th at Frederik Meijer Gardens. Tickets for a reserved seat at an Our Lady table are $50. Checks can be made to North Kent Connect and dropped off at the Parish Office. Space is limited so reserve your spot now!