Immigration Awareness Pilgrimage: A Journey of Hope

by Sister Julie Ann on September 4, 2008

Photos contributed by Fred Graber, September 7, 2008.  Other photos see Flickr. The Compass News has further coverage and an audio/visual slideshow.

During this month in which Pope Benedict XVI in the General intentions for 2008 recommends that the people of God pray “that Christians may defend and protect refugees”,  the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Manitowoc, WI, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, Green Bay, WI, the Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, WI and the Diocese of Green Bay invite you to virtually walk with them in an Immigration Awareness Pilgrimage, A Journey of Hope, Justice for Immigrants and Refugees.

On August 31, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared:

Migration has become an emergency in our times, and one that demands solidarity and effective political solutions…for their part, European countries, and all other countries that are the destination of immigration, are called to, among other things, develop through consensus initiatives and structures that continue to adapt themselves to the needs of irregular migrants.

The latter must be made aware, on the one hand, of the value of their own lives, which are a singular good, always precious, that should be safeguarded in the face of the grave risks that the pursuit of better situations exposes them to and, on the other hand, the duty of legality that is imposed on all.”

As the [Pope],” he added, “I feel a profound obligation to recall everyone’s attention to this problem and to ask for the generous cooperation of individuals and institutions to deal with it and to find solutions.”

Desiring to follow in the footprints of Jesus, reflect on the Holy Father’s words in the light of this Gospel passage from Mt.25:35-40.

For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to see me…I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.

How do we as Church respond to the needs of migrants and refugees in our country today?

9 thoughts on “Immigration Awareness Pilgrimage: A Journey of Hope”

  1. As I read August 28, 2008 issure of “Origins” I could not help but see the urgent need for all Christians to reach out to immigrants and refugees.

    Cardinal Mahony speaks of five important ways to do this:

    1) Speak clearly and often to the migrants and refugees who are in our midst or who are coming to our country,”You can count on the Roman Catholic Church to stand with you and walk with you on your journey to legal status in the U.S.

    2) Hold accountable those who are asking for our votes this November. Insist that they outline a humane plan for reform of our immigration laws.

    3) Change attitudes toward migrants through ongoing education; address the misunderstandings and fears.

    4) Continue to provide pastoral care and social services, including legal assistance, to migrants and their families.

    5) Work toward the reform of laws impacting migrants, immigrants,and refugees.

    Above all we need to continue nurturing the virtue of HOPE! Jesus gives us the assurance that our hope and trust in Him will never be in vain, but will bring forth new life!

  2. St. Francis found God in the eyes of human beings. He saw God in the agony of the leper. Today he would encourage us first to learn the accounts of people suffering in any way from the present Immigration system in our country and to celebrate the richness of diversity that is ours because of the many gifted cultures who call the United States home.

    If the blessing of meeting current immigrants, migrants and refugees face to face is not ours, there are many ways to be exposed to their plight through the ‘heart’ research and stories of others.

    Read websites:
    View films:

  3. Congratulations on the success of the Journey of Hope! It is nice to see the pictures of some of the participants. I’m sure the hearts of immigrants were touched by your support and prayers.

    Blessings on your future endeavors.

  4. Sister Jan Villemure says:

    My teaching in Yuma Arizona touches the immigration issue daily. Several of our high school students come across the border daily with green cards, to study at our high school, Yuma Catholic. Knowing these students personally, and loving them as we do, the Sisters here get an inside view on immigration, legal and illegal. When writing a recommendation for one of my Anatomy and Physiology Students last year, who was top in my class of 26, I realized she had been to 10 schools. I never realized that as I knew her for 4 years here. Her parents were migrant workers. Yet Marlene ended up top in this class, determined to be a nurse someday. These students want an education and work for it. They are fine examples to all of us.
    Sister Jan

  5. Special thanks, Sr. Julie Ann, for the list of movies dealing with the topic of immigration. I have seen “The Kite Runner” and recommend it to anyone interested in a captivating and touching story. I now have some more great movies to explore.
    My sincere gratitude for all that was done to make this Journey of Hope happen. It is no small task but immigration is no small topic. God’s blessings on all who do the work of the Gospel; welcoming the stranger.

  6. Sr. Delores Wisnicky says:

    Dear Sr. Mary Ann,
    Thank you for organizing the day with a team of people. It was a powerful day of prayer and awareness. We walk with the poor and the forgotten.
    Lord, lead us in this journey of faith and hope…

  7. The pilgrimage day went well. I was impressed by the number of people that did come for the day. The day was reflective and prayerful. It made me more aware of what our Grandparents or great Granparents did for us, when they came from other countries and how they had started out. Helped me be more aware of the needs of the immigrants today and to continue to support them. Thanks for those who made the day possible.

  8. Leslie says:

    I was deeply touched by this pilgrimage. It was a wonderful day filled with joy and learning. My friends and I were so glad we took part. I can tell that you sisters put a lot of work into this event. I was really impressed with your effort. Thank you very much for putting so much time into such a worth while event. God blesses your work.

  9. Thanks, Leslie, for your kind words, but more so for your Gospel-action that demanded travel from outside the Diocese of Green Bay. In reviewing the day,it was evident the presence of youth and young adults made the day happen.

    Francis’ prayer before the crucifix was a living reality: “Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out Your holy and true command.”

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