Monday, October 14, 2013
Walking and Praying in Hope for Immigration Reform
Pope Francis, on the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, stated that “Hope is the virtue of those who, experiencing conflict—the struggle between life and death, good and evil—believe in the resurrection of Christ, in the victory of love.”1 We as Catholic are not only people of faith but people of hope. We hope in events that are beyond our sight or comprehension. Every Easter we hope for the resurrection, in our daily lives we hope that we are being guided by a loving God of life. It is something that sustains us and that gives us the strength to continue on the journey to build the Kingdom of God.
At the Office for Immigrant Affairs, we have been praying and reflecting on hope, especially as we await movement on a House immigration bill. We see that even though there may be challenges, God will be accompanying us in the pursuit of justice. As a way to remember this and show people who might be in despair that there is hope for immigration reform, we will be hosting a major pilgrimage on October 19. It will start at 9:00 AM with a prayer service held at Holy Name Cathedral (730 N State St, Chicago). We will process to Federal Plaza in silence to show our solidarity for immigrant families who are suffering because of deported loved ones, and to pray for immigration reform. We will break silence at Federal Plaza and continue to Old St. Mary’s (1500 S Michigan Ave). On Friday, as a prelude to the main pilgrimage, two groups of 11 priests, religious sisters and brothers, lay leaders and seminarians will start walking from Representatives Roskam and Lipinski’s districts. They will be representing the 11 million undocumented immigrants awaiting immigration reform.
We are glad to be joined by Most Rev. John R. Manz, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, Mark C. Curran, Jr., Sheriff of Lake County, Sr. JoAnn Persch, Rev. Gary M. Graf, Rev. Lawrence R. Dowling and Rev. Marco A. Mercado, who will speak at different points during the morning.
There have also been bright signs of hope within the Archdiocese. Throughout the last two months, 220 parishes have committed themselves to participating in our “40 Days plus of Prayer, Fasting and Action for Congress until the Vote” campaign. We were also blessed with a moving musical performance from the City Lights Orchestra at our annual event “A Concert for the Journey” held on September 30. This has shown us that people are wishing to stand on the side of the immigrant community, seeing them as brothers and sisters.
As we continue along the journey for immigration reform, we pray that people recognize the movements of change towards justice for immigrants. We also pray that we may stand in further solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers, reflecting on the opening lines of Gaudium Et Spes: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”2