In time for our year of welcoming the stranger, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is establishing a working group that is tasked with developing support for immigrants and refugees. The help will come in the forms of spiritual, pastoral and policy advocacy support.
In announcing the working group, the Public Affairs Office said the bishops and USCCB staff will be ready to respond to any executive orders and legislation that the new Congress and President-elect Donald J. Trump may introduce.
The working group will inform the efforts of individual bishops in their pastoral responses to immigrants and refugees and recommend appropriate additional efforts as needed, such as the recent day of prayer on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12.
According to Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago, some of the responsibilities of the working group will include:
- Looking at what is being done pastorally in U.S. dioceses and sharing best practices with bishops.
- Economic struggles
- Alienation, fear and exclusion many feel
- The resistance to the church’s message regarding migrants and refugees
- Emphasizing ways we can build bridges between various segments of society
- Spearheading advocacy, building on existing USCCB efforts
- Engage constructively with the incoming administration and Congress
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president, will chair the group and plans to meet weekly. Cardinal Cupich commented that the formation of this group:
“will send a message to those who live in fear that the Catholic bishops of the United States stand with them, pray with them, offer pastoral support and speak prophetically in defense of their human dignity.” He added that the Chicago Archdiocese will continue to “walk with all who, given our broken immigration system, live in the shadows. We will advocate for them as well as for refugees seeking a better life for their families.”
National Migration Week is Jan. 8-14.
Source: America Magazine