Archbishop Hebda pledges solidarity with immigrants

| December 12, 2016 | 5 Comments

The Catholic Church will not abandon immigrants and refugees, Archbishop Bernard Hebda and other leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis wrote in a letter to immigrants Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The leaders acknowledged the concerns about immigration that have swelled since the Nov. 8 presidential election. During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump spoke of tightening immigration regulations plus deporting people in the country illegally.

“We know that since the November elections, many of you have expressed concern about possible changes in immigration policies and practices. These possible changes are only speculation at this point, yet they have caused fear and uncertainty about work situations and even anxiety over deportation,” they wrote.

The letter coincided with a National Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops designated on the Marian feast day this year. The day, which celebrates 16th century apparitions of the Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego in Mexico, is especially important to Latino Catholics. She is honored as patroness of the Americas.

The letter was signed by Archbishop Hebda, Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens and Father Kevin Kenney, vicar for Latino Ministries and the pastor of Divine Mercy in Faribault and St. Michael in Kenyon.

“We will seek to protect you, our brothers and sisters, and do what we can to prevent unjust deportation,” they wrote. “Jesus Christ clearly tells us in the Scriptures that we are to serve our neighbors and protect the most vulnerable among us. We will do our best to be faithful to His command to welcome the stranger in need.”

They also noted that Christmas preparations remind Christians that “our Savior Jesus Christ was born in a manger away from his home, and that the Holy Family themselves experienced a time as refugees in Egypt.”

The archdiocesan leaders also reaffirmed USCCB Vice President Archbishop Jose Gomez’s statement regarding the matter. Archbishop Gomez serves the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which has a vast immigrant population.

“We want immigrants to know the Church is with them, offers prayers on their behalf, and is actively monitoring developments at the diocesan, state and national levels to be an effective advocate on their behalf,” Archbishop Gomez said in the USCCB statement.

Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Cozzens also shared their message in Spanish in a video posted on YouTube.

In a separate letter to Catholics in the archdiocese dated Dec. 10, Archbishop Hebda encouraged everyone “to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world — and here in our country — who find themselves living in fear and uncertainty, away from their home countries due to violence, famine, oppression and economic depression,” and reiterated that “their experience is not unlike that of Christ.”

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  • Nancy

    Perhaps a way our bishops could help alleviate some of the fear and angst would be to offset the media’s attempt to fan into flame the idea of mass deportation by pointing out
    (1) our president elect has already clarified he will first deport only those acting in a criminal manner, charged and found guilty, and would review the status of all others illegally residing in our country who have been acting rightly and contributing to society, and,
    (2) there are not enough law enforcement personnel assigned to the area Immigration to be able to systematically deport all who reside here illegally.

    • Charles C.

      Nicely done.

      There are too many issues (racism, immigration, Gays, Muslims, etc.) where the Bishop’s first response seems to be to assume that the fear is justified. There second impulse seems to be to pledge the support of the Church in assisting the “victims.” This assistance may be in the form of prayer services, letter writing and lobbying, or arranging for the “victims” to express their grievances in lengthy “dialogues” which appear to be mostly given over to harangues, lectures, or self-pitying wails.

      You are quite correct in pointing out that truth does wonders in driving out much fear.

  • tschraad

    I wonder when these religioius protectors of illegals, felons and terrorists will turn their support to those who have lost their jobs and are now welfare recipients, or have been the victim of a serious crime including death, and face the threat of violence from the refugees some who could be Islamic terrorists.

    I also wonder how they feel about all of those immigrants that are trying to enter the country legally being trampled by those less charitable and are willing to break our laws without a guilty conscience to further their personal greedy goals.

    Love of neighbor has more muscle if it is practice to all who want to come but it should not be detrimental to those of us who made this a good place to raise our families.

    • Charles C.

      There is question to which I have unable to get an answer. Simply, who do we not allow in to the country? What limits should we impose?

      More than 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day, and 40% live on less than $2 a day. (World Bank 2008) If they came to our borders claiming they were looking for a better life and were willing to work, would we turn any of them away? On what basis could Archbishop Hebda or the USCCB justify telling them they could not enter?

      From South and Central America alone, the citizens of these countries are more than five times as likely to die from violence as in the United States:

      El Salvador
      Guatemala
      Venezuela
      Trinidad and Tobago
      Belize
      Columbia
      Honduras
      Haiti
      Panama
      Brazil

      If the citizens of those countries came to our borders out of a real fear of violence, do we turn any of them away? How would their rejection be justified?

      And what if a poor victim of violence doesn’t have the money to get here? Do we have an obligation to relieve their suffering by arranging their transportation, perhaps on large airplanes?

      Forgive me if I misunderstand, but it appears that the policy of the bishops is to welcome and support anyone who comes here and to aid them on their journey. I must misunderstand because that policy is absurd on its face and doomed to fail, destroy the US, or most likely, both.

      • tschraad

        Charles C. ——-you already know the answer to your question. The bishops want open borders for anyone, legitmate, illegal, felons, terrorists etc.

        They see the United States as the golden goose and that there is no end of the unlimited resources that we provide to others. Once this goose stops providing the resources, it is killed to use it’s remains.

        Now, we will be all alike, all third world countries, all in need and no one to provide any assistance. The Catholic Church today with the leadership of Pope Francis is turning itself into a socialistic organization leaning towards a communist state.

        We are taught to help others less fortunate then us and we do a good job helping others. This cannot be open ended as we are also taught that those who do not work do not eat as those that work are less in number every year. Is it Pope Francis and his cohorts plan on mass genocide and abortions to relieve the number of people so that we can feed the world? That will be the next slippery slope that we will be told is permissible along with his current “Joy of adultery” program he is pushing.