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Priests for Justice for Immigrants Advent Message: Do Not Lose Hope!

Chicago, IL (December 18, 2007) - Nearly fifty men and women religious representing the Priests for Justice for Immigrants and the Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants held a press conference and prayer service earlier today in the chapel of Holy Name Cathedral. Coinciding with International Migrant’s Day, the event occurred simultaneously with similarly staged events in the San Antonio, Lexington, Los Angeles, San José, Trenton and Newark dioceses.

Rev. Marco Mercado, pastor of Chicago’s Good Shepherd parish, and one of four Priests for Justice for Immigrants’ core leaders, led off the press conference by stating the group’s commitment “to work for just and humane immigration reform until legislation passes, as there are many bothers and sisters in faith among us who may be losing hope, and who, in fact, are losing their families and their livelihoods.”

While members of an immigrant Latino family and Priests for Justice for Immigrants and the Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants lit three candles of an Advent wreath, Fr. Larry Dowling, pastor of St. Agatha Parish, and one of the group’s core leaders, noted that “today’s ongoing political debate pushed the need for this press conference. There are too many Americans today who are ignorant of the real issues and are buying into the negative rhetoric. We need to stand up in faith against the racism and negativity that’s occurring today.”

Also addressing the gathering were Priests for Justice for Immigrants’ core members Rev. Brendan Curran, pastor of Chicago’s St. Pius V Parish and Rev. Don Nevins, pastor of Chicago’s St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Fr. Nevins noted that the group “stands together and pledges our unwavering commitment to pray the Rosary each day at 7:15 a.m. at the Broadview detention center, assign court watchers to observe immigration deportation hearings and to expand Know Your Rights, a pilot program to help inform undocumented immigrants caught in workplace raids.”

Information was also presented on the more than 60 Posadas that are currently taking place on behalf of immigration reform at parishes across the Archdiocese.

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