Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, Sister Kathleen Murphy offers the second of a series of postings on immigration. This communication identifies the audience that the United States Catholic Bishops wish to speak to in the document Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.
Last month we considered how immigration concerns fit into the Church’s teachings on social justice. Next, let’s take a look at who the bishops are speaking to in their document, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope. Again, the following statements are summarized from the bishops’ document.
* We speak to migrants who are forced to leave their lands to provide for their families or to escape persecution. We stand in solidarity with you. We commit ourselves to your pastoral care and to work towards changes in church and societal structures that impede your exercising your dignity and living as children of God.
* We speak to public officials in both nations, from those who hold the highest offices to those who encounter the migrant on a daily basis. We thank our nations’ presidents for the dialogue they have begun in an effort to humanize the migration phenomenon. We ask our presidents to continue negotiations on migration issues to achieve a system of migration between the two countries that is more generous, just, and humane.
* Finally, we speak to the peoples of the United States and Mexico. Our two nations are more interdependent than ever before in our history, sharing cultural and social values, common interests, and hopes for the future. Our nations have a singular opportunity to act as true neighbors and to work together to build a more just and generous immigration system.
This description of the Bishops’ intended audience should assure us that they are speaking to us! You will note some of the sentences which refer to our participation in this issue. “We stand in solidarity with you.” We commit ourselves to your pastoral care and to work towards changes..” “Our nations have a singular opportunity to act as true neighbors and to work together…” Knowing that we are spoken to and called to action on this issue let us be vigilant in looking for ways to learn, act and pray for and about all those touched by the complicated workings of immigration today.