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Chicago, IL (March 16, 2009) - The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform of the Archdiocese of Chicago, along with Priests for Justice for Immigrants, Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants and a diverse network of interfaith leaders, will join Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, for an interfaith prayer forum at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, 4432 North Troy in Chicago, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. Prayers will be offered for the sake of “Liberty and Justice for All Immigrant Families.” American citizens and legal permanent residents will also write petitions and offer testimonies about the suffering caused by forced separation from loved ones whose places of work are raided and who are deported from this country.

Cardinal George, a featured speaker, will address the issue of families whose members are separated. The Cardinal recently wrote, “We will work with the new administration and Congress to fix a broken immigration system which harms both our nation and immigrants. Comprehensive reform is needed to deal with the economic and human realities of millions of immigrants in our midst.”

Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a guest speaker, has joined elsewhere with interfaith leaders in prayer forums that focus on the harmful effects of the current immigration system on families and communities. This campaign began with collaboration between Catholic and Evangelical churches in Chicago; the first prayer forum was at St. Pius Catholic Church in November 2008. These prayer forums are continuing in seventeen cities from San Francisco to Atlanta, and from Albuquerque to Detroit.

On March 21, families will write and present over a thousand petitions to their legislators in Congress. The petitions will call on President Obama to fulfill his campaign promise to address the plight of immigrants – legally and illegally here – and to halt non-felony deportations.

Pastor Freddy Santiago, who hosted a similar event at his church, El Rebaño Evangelical Church, said, “We are happy to cooperate with our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ in our common search for justice for the poorest among us.”

Priests for Justice for Immigrants is a network of over 200 priests, and Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants represents 34 religious orders, working locally on behalf of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform that started in June 2005.

For more information about Priests for Justice for Immigrants contact Rev. Larry Dowling, 773-522-3050. For more information about Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants call Sr. JoAnn Persch at 773-779-6011. For information about the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform of the Archdiocese of Chicago, please call Elena Segura, director, at 312-307-6180.

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