TRENTON, N.J. (CNS) — Catholics need to put aside “any partisan differences” they have on the immigration issue and come together to pray for the welfare of their brother and sister immigrants and for Congress to pass much-hoped-for comprehensive immigration reform, said Bishop David M. O’Connell of Trenton.
Immigration reform in the United States is “a moral imperative” that goes beyond politics, the bishop said in a pastoral statement he issued for the Trenton Diocese’s Justice for Immigrants Sunday, observed July 14.
“Whatever we, as Catholics, can do to foster the hopes and dreams of those who see our country as their potential home is an imperative of the Gospel and of the Catholic social teaching based upon it, not of our political persuasion,” Bishop O’Connell said.
“Prayer is a powerful prerogative and something that all of us can do. I believe that with all my heart and soul,” he added.
The bishop designated Justice for Immigrants Sunday as a day in which Catholics at all parishes in the diocese prayed for concrete action “on fair immigration policies.”
Special prayer petitions were read, homilies delivered and materials distributed to inform the Catholic community of the U.S. bishops’ support for comprehensive reform as outlined in their 2003 pastoral letter titled “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.”
The principles enunciated in that letter — among them a path to citizenship for the undocumented, provisions to keep families together and various types of worker visas — were echoed in a recent pastoral statement on immigration from the Catholic bishops of New Jersey, advocating the reform of “a badly broken system in our country.”
“That something significant and substantial needs to be done is hardly arguable,” Bishop O’Connell said in his statement. “How best to accomplish that goal continues to be a source of debate, even division within our nation.
“Sadly, people are quick to paint the issues involved with political and partisan brushes, thereby adding to the polarization and the delay in resolution.”
Comprehensive immigration reform “is not Washington’s problem,” he continued. “It is a concern for all citizens of our country as well as those who hope to be, much as it was for our ancestors who arrived here with hopes for and dreams of a better life, ‘Under God, with liberty and justice for all.'”
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103