Justice for Immigrants, a pro-amnesty group with which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is “closely involved,” has announced Wednesday, November 13th as a National Call-In Day to Congress.
SaveTheDate -Wed, Nov. 13, 2013- for a Nat’l Call-In Day to Congress.
— JusticeForImmigrants (@USCCBJFI) October 29, 2013
On that day, the Feast of St Frances Cabrini, we’ll ask Congress to “Support a path to citizenship and oppose the SAFE Act”
— JusticeForImmigrants (@USCCBJFI) October 29, 2013
The USCCB website indicates that Justice for Immigrants helps to “unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of good will in support of a broad legalization program and comprehensive immigration reform.”
Justice for Immigrants states on its website that on November 13th, the Feast Day of Saint Frances Cabrini, it is asking “Catholics and supporters of immigrants to call their Congressional Representatives with this simple message:”
Support a path to citizenship and oppose the SAFE Act.
The “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (SAFE)” is a bill that was introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Trey Gowdy (R-SC) in June. The legislation aims to enhance public safety and national security through more effective immigration law enforcement within the country and at the borders.
The USCCB has continued its efforts to promote amnesty for at least 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. through the use of op-eds by its bishops in news outlets across the country and homilies about immigration reform during Masses.
In Trenton, New Jersey, Bishop David M. O’Connell celebrated a “Justice for Immigrants” Mass October 11th at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, with 20 priests of the diocese concelebrating. The Mass was coordinated by Catholic Charities and the diocesan Office of Catholic Social Services.
According to Catholic Courier, during the Mass, O’Connell referred to Jesus as the “divine immigrant” who lived his life “traveling from place to place.”
“Sacred Scripture tells us where he was from and what his ancestral lineage was, but nowhere in the Bible do we find his permanent address, the location of his house, where he lived after beginning his public ministry,” said the bishop in his homily.
“He lived and worked as an immigrant, an itinerant preacher, on many levels,” O’Connell said.
The bishop continued that it is important for the Catholic Church to pray for positive movement on immigration.
“It is not the church’s responsibility to enact civil legislation or to take sides or participate as a church in differences of partisan political debates,” O’Connell said. “No, it is, rather, the church’s responsibility to educate the faithful in those matters where human moral interaction, informed by the Gospel and church teaching, need to be lifted up and prayerfully considered.”
O’Connell said that, according to St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, “‘we are fellow citizens and members of the household of God.’ The ‘household of God’ has no national boundaries… the ‘house of God’ has no ZIP code.”
Executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton Marlene Lao-Collins praised Bishop O’Connell for celebrating the special Mass and inviting people to pray for immigration reform.
“First and foremost, as a people of faith, we pray and then we take action,” Lao-Collins told The Monitor, Trenton’s diocesan newspaper. She said that action includes writing or calling legislators and parishes hosting group discussions about the U.S. bishops’ views on immigration reform.
“I believe that today’s Mass sends a clear message to our immigrant families that we are in solidarity with them and to all Catholics of the Diocese of Trenton that we should support immigration reform,” she said.
Roberto Hernandez, director of Catholic Charities’ El Centro, which provides resources to Trenton’s Latino community, said it was important “for the church to come together with the community. The community represented here today is not just immigrants but people who support immigration reform.”
On October 17th, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the USCCB, penned an op-ed in the Wall St. Journal in which he praised the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities for its efforts to assist immigrants to the United States in becoming American citizens.
Dolan challenged “politicians and policy makers” who believe a large number of immigrants do not wish to become U.S. citizens:
According to a 2007 report by the University of California, Berkeley, political scientist Jack Citrin and his colleagues, Latino immigrants acquire English as quickly as, or more quickly than, Asian and European immigrants. By the third generation here, recent Pew studies have shown, Hispanics are achieving education and income levels comparable to the native-born population. In part, these results are thanks to the vibrant civic and religious institutions that welcome them.
“Comprehensive immigration reform is the way to continue this success,” the cardinal said. “By bringing the undocumented out of the shadows and giving them a chance to earn citizenship, we’d remove barriers to their immersion.”