- MRS/PCMR Message from the Director
- Mexican, U.S. Bishops Agree to Joint Efforts on Migration Issues
- African Community Outreach Network (ACON)
- Joint Statement of the U.S. and Mexican Episcopal Commissions for Migrants
- Update on Implementation Plan for Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity
- Migration and Refugee Services Develops Strategic Goals for 2002-2004
- MRS Vision Statement
- MRS Mission Statement
- MRS Strategic Goals for 2002-2004
- NCCB Migration Chairman Urged Immediate Congressional Action to Avert Upheaval in Immigrant Families
- Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami testifies before The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims
- NCCB Migration Chair Calls on Congress, Administration to Reexamine Border Policy
- ICMC Celebrates 50 Years
- Ordination of Foreign Born Priests Increases; Largest Number from Vietnam and Mexico
- Traditional Filipino Marian Celebration Turns Multicultural
- Filipino Charismatics Urged To Bond With Local Church
- Scalabrini International Migration Institute Offers Courses on the Social Philosophy and Pastoral Theology of Human Mobility
- TPS Extended for Hondurans and Nicaraguans
- Congratulations are in Order!
- NCCB/USCC Becomes USCCB
On the first three Sundays of June the Church celebrates the feast of Pentecost, the Holy Trinity and the Body and Blood of Christ. The theology behind these three feasts provides the theological underpinnings for the United States' bishops' pastoral statement, Welcoming Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity.
On the feast of Pentecost the Holy spirit drew into unity the crowd from many nations who heard the saving massage about Jesus for the first time. The speakers of the massage were Galileans, the recipients of the message came from all around the Middle East, "...yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God." (Acts 2:11) This unity which the Holy Spirit impelled reclaimed the division caused by the arrogance of Babel and grounded the believers of Jesus from every race and nation into the unity of the Three Persons in One God, the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the unity which we celebrate on the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ and each time we come together for the Eucharist. We are called to set aside our selfish divisions, antagonisms, racism, historical animosities (the same arrogance which brought about Babel) and become the sacrament of unity and universality in dioceses and parishes throughout the United States. This a great challenge to which the Spirit calls all of us and the great privilege given to us who works in ethnic ministry to promote this significant vision.
This vision of Unity in Diversity is a Kingdom vision never fully realized in this word but anticipated in the Church through human and divine energy and fulfilled only in the end of time. To bring human energy to this vision the MRS Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees is planning a series of seven trainings to take place throughout the country beginning in November 2001 and ending in June 2003. This first series of training is directed to diocesan bishops and leaders. The workshops will review with them the basic teachings of the pastoral statement, focus on successful diocesan and parish structures and best pastoral practices in their region, and give them the opportunity to devise structures and plans for building the multicultural church in their dioceses. A grants program will be in place to assist them in these plans. The second phase of trainings begins when these teams return to their dioceses to strategize with other diocesan leaders on how to spread the word to pastors, parish staff and lay leaders.
In these special feast days of the Sundays of June and each time we celebrate the Eucharist we pray that the divine energy will accompany so that we do not become discouraged by our own limitations and powerful forces of division all around us, but that we have faith and hope in the power of God to "gather into one the dispersed children of God." (Jn 11:52).
Mexican, U.S. Bishops Agree to Joint Efforts on Migration Issues
From April 20 to 22, 2001 U.S. bishops from the Committee on Migration met with Mexican bishops from the Episcopal Commission for Human Mobility. The meeting reviewed the critical issues involved in the large numbers of Mexicans immigrating to the United States. The results of this historic meeting are summed up in this statement presented by the bishops to the press at the end of the meeting.
African Community Outreach Network (ACON)
African Community Outreach Network (ACON), a non profit corporation was recently formed by a group of committed volunteers from the Washington Metropolitan area in conjunction with the MRS Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (PCMR). The main objective of ACON is to develop and strengthen a support base for newcomers in different regions throughout the United States. Specifically, it will assist newcomers from Africa with adjustment into American society and culture by providing social services, counseling and health care referral services. In conjunction with the MRS/PCMR network, ACON will serve as a resource for the pastoral care needs of African Catholics in the United States.
Additionally, ACON will promote understanding and cooperation among diverse African ethnic communities living in the United States without prejudice to ethnic, linguistic, political, or religious affiliation. It is hoped that ACON will cultivate better understanding and appreciation of African cultures in the United States, facilitate the education of American-born African children to appreciate and preserve their cultural heritage, and provide mediation services in community or group social conflicts involving Africans while fostering a healthy environment for relationships and interaction.
Joint Statement of the U.S. and Mexican Episcopal Commissions for Migrants
In the spirit of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, which calls for the establishment of closer relations between the peoples of America, we the bishops, members of the Episcopal Commissions for the Pastoral Care of Migrants in the United States and Mexico, met in Mexico City, April 20-22, 2001.
The serious situation faced by migrants has prompted us to reflect and to respond in a more concrete, honest, and committed way. Migrants take many risks, they suffer the pain of separation from their families and from their places of birth. In their journey, they suffer persecution, deceit, and ill treatment in many countries, deportation, exploitation and, unfortunately, many even find death.
We have come to the following agreements which will benefit the joint work between both commissions:
- Protection of human rights.
We know for a fact that abuses against migrants are on the rise and we especially lament the abuses against women and children and the frequent deaths which occur in our borders.
- Systems of communication.
Both commissions are determined to maintain a permanent communication to follow up with the process initiated at this meeting and to fulfill our commitments and any other situation which may arise so that these are given appropriate human and pastoral solutions.
- Accompaniment to migrants.
Encouraging whenever possible that adequate attention be given by bishops, priests, men and women religious, and lay missionaries to persons and groups who are living the phenomenon of migration.
- Mutual support.
For the development of migrant ministry on both sides.
- Support materials for migrants.
Together develop materials for migrants and for pastoral leaders who work with them.
- Solidarity with South and Central America.
Promoting encuentros with bishops and other migrant ministry pastoral leaders to seek ways to help our brothers and sisters who come from those countries.
- Develop a joint statement on migration.
The commissions, listening to the perspective of others, will prepare the material for the issuing of a statement by the Episcopal Conferences of the United States and Mexico.
At the closing of our event, we committed ourselves to continue with our communication and collaboration to be united in our pastoral care of migrants.
We have placed our concerns and our hopes before Marνa de Guadalupe, the first in the Pilgrim Church, so that she may guide us and accompany us in these processes of the Church in America. May she be the hope of our migrant brothers and sisters.
Mexico, D.F., April 22, 2001
Update on Implementation Plan for Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity
- Translation of the Pastoral Statement and its Accompanying Brochure
- The Spanish translation of Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity (Pub No. 5-375) and the brochure Called to Welcome the Stranger Among Us (Pub. No. 5-404) are now available by calling 1-800-235-8722.
- PCMR expects that the Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Portuguese and Haitian Creole translations of the Called to Welcome the Stranger Among Us brochure will be available this Fall.
- The Parish Resource Kit is in its final stages of design and production.
- Complimentary kits will be available to every parish in the country and all members of the PCMR network. Order forms were sent to diocesan ordinaries on June 1, 2001. The complimentary kits will be mailed in August. Additional copies will be available for purchase after the August mailing.
- PCMR has nominated diocesan staff/leaders from the MRS network and other key diocesan networks to serve on the planning teams for each region. The team members will help PCMR plan for the trainings and act as presenters, panelists and facilitators.
- The following proposed dates and sites have been chosen for the trainings.
Providence, RI Nov. 27-28, 2001
Far West and Mountain States Proposed Regional Training:
Phoenix, Arizona Feb. 20-22 or Feb. 27-Mar. 1, 2002
Mid-Atlantic Proposed Regional Training:
Baltimore, MD May 1-3 or May 15-17, 2002
Great Lakes Proposed Regional Training:
Milwaukee, WI Sept. 18-20 or Sept. 25-27, 2002
South East Proposed Regional Training:
Memphis, TN Dec. 4-6 or Dec. 11-13, 2002
North Central and South West Proposed Regional Training:
Dallas, TX Mar. 12-14 or Mar. 26-28, 2003
North West Proposed Regional Training:
Seattle, WA June 18-20 or June 25-27, 2003
If you need further information about any of these initiatives to promote the pastoral statement, please contact Amy E. Newlon, PCMR Education and Development Coordinator at 202-541-5408 or via email at Anewlon@nccbuscc.org.
Migration and Refugee Services Develops Strategic Goals for 2002-2004
Last Fall MRS began a strategic planning process which culminated in early May when nearly 60 staff spent three days off-site finalizing strategic goals and plans for all offices of Migration and Refugee Services. This process began with a small work group and a facilitator nine months ago. Additional staff representatives met in early February to further refine MRS' vision, mission statement, and goals for Migration and Refugee Services. We are providing this information in this newsletter so that our diocesan contacts and pastoral ministers will have a clear understanding of this important undertaking for MRS and how it will impact PCMR's plans and objectives for the next few years.
MRS Vision Statement
MRS: Working to create a world where immigrants, refugees, migrants, and people on the move are treated with dignity, respect, welcome and belonging.
MRS serves as a beacon of hope for those seeking welcome and belonging, and as a catalyst for positive change for domestic and international public policy.
MRS Mission Statement
Migration and Refugee Services carries out the commitment of the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States to serve and advocate for immigrants, migrants, refugees, and other people on the move. This commitment is rooted in the Gospel mandate that every person is to be welcomed by the disciple as if he or she were Christ himself and in the right of every human being to pursue, without restrain, the call of holiness. Migration and Refugee Services contributes to this commitment in an integrated fashion by:
- Assisting the Bishops in the development and advocacy of policy positions at the national and international levels that address the needs and conditions of immigrants, refugees, migrants and people on the move.
- Working with the federal government and local churches in resettling refugees admitted to the United States into caring and supportive communities.
- Assisting local churches and specialized apostolates in responding to the pastoral needs of Catholics among these populations, including the facilitation of pastoral accompaniment of migrants as necessary and possible, thereby aiding in the development and nurturing of a welcoming and supportive Church in the United States.
MRS Strategic Goals for 2002-2004
- Capacity within the Church to welcome and comprehensively respond to the needs of immigrants, refugees, migrants and people on the move.
- Favorable attitudes on the part of the public, especially among Catholics, toward newcomers/people on the move, from which responsive public policies will emerge that positively impact immigrants, refugees, migrants and people on the move, here and abroad.
NCCB Migration Chairman Urged Immediate Congressional Action to Avert Upheaval in Immigrant Families
On April 30, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Camden (NJ) and Chair of the NCCB Committee on Migration, urged immediate congressional and administration action to extend a filing deadline for immigrants to access Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Section 245(i) allows immigrants previously in an undocumented status but with a family-based or employment-based visa available to them to remain in the United States to process their applications for permanent residency rather than return to their country of origin to engage the process.
In 1997, Congress removed the ability of immigrants to take advantage of this provision of law, forcing them to return to their country of origin at great expense and the risk of being prevented from reentering the country under provisions of the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, passed in 1996. In December, Congress conditionally reinstated Section 245(i), allowing eligible immigrants until April 30 to file the necessary paperwork.
In his statement, Bishop DiMarzio cited the huge demand by immigrants on Catholic agencies for assistance to file the proper papers to benefit from the provision as a justification for an extension of the deadline. He added that an extension would help those who qualify under the LIFE provision but were unable to obtain the needed assistance by the April 30 deadline.
The U.S. Catholic bishops have long advocated making Section 245(i) a permanent benefit for immigrant families across the country because it allows families to remain together. When it became clear at the end of last year that Section 245(i) would not be extended to all immigrants, the bishops supported the extension of it to a smaller group in LIFE.
"The new Administration and the new Congress should, as a first step toward a positive immigration agenda this year, address this issue without delay and provide a measure of compassion to immigrant families in the United States," Bishop DiMarzio said, noting that date marked the end of the first 100 days of the Bush Administration.
Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami testifies before The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims
On May 15, Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, Auxiliary Bishop of Miami and Member of the NCCB Committee on Migration, testified before The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. In his testimony, Bishop Wenski recommended that the INS: explore alternatives to detention; fund legal orientation presentations for detainees; and be restructured to separate enforcement and immigration-service functions, while ensuring adequate funding for services through appropriations (as opposed to the current reliance exclusively on revenue generated through fees). He also recommended that Congress enact the Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act; re-evaluate border enforcement strategy and ensure civil and human rights training for Border Patrol officers; include an appropriation for the Cuban/Haitian Resettlement Program in the INS FY 2002 budget; and ensure that family reunification remain the basis of U.S. immigration policy by permanently restoring Section 245(i). Bishop Wenski also recommended an appropriation of funds to decrease the INS adjudications backlog and a review of the family preference system to reduce the 3-12 year delays in reuniting legal permanent residents and their family members abroad.
NCCB Migration Chair Calls on Congress, Administration to Reexamine Border Policy
In a statement released May 30, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Camden, Chairman of the Catholic bishops' Committee on Migration, called upon the Administration and Congress to reevaluate the nation's border policy in light of the rising number of migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"The death of 14 migrants in the Arizona desert last week represents the latest in a series of migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border," Bishop DiMarzio said. "As a nation, we must no longer tolerate nor accept the deaths of migrants along our southern border."
Bishop DiMarzio said that since the launching of Operation Gatekeeper in 1994, the number of Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border has tripled, with no perceptible decline in the rate of undocumented migration. Rather, migrants have chosen more hazardous routes into the United States, leaving them vulnerable to extreme environmental conditions and to unscrupulous smugglers.
"I call upon our elected officials, both on the federal and local levels, to address the problem of undocumented migration in a comprehensive fashion," Bishop DiMarzio said. "Our
elected officials must steer away from a one-dimensional approach toward our borders and
examine all aspects of national immigration policy, including the legal immigration system, asylum and due process protection laws, and the current treatment of undocumented migrants who enter our country. Ultimately, the nation must thoroughly examine the root causes of undocumented migration and seek long-term solutions, especially in developing the economies of our southern neighbors."
"The Church recognizes the right and responsibility of sovereign states to control their borders," Bishop DiMarzio stated. " However, such enforcement must be sensitive to basic human rights and coupled with a legal immigration system which positively responds to the realities of migration in our hemisphere," he said.
"The U.S. Catholic bishops seek to uphold the dignity and human rights of migrants, regardless of their legal status," Bishop DiMarzio said. "We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress in the near future to fashion an immigration system which is more transparent, fair, and generous and which protects the human rights and lives of migrants who enter our land."
"I offer my prayers for the migrants who died last week in Arizona, their families, and all who have died attempting to cross from Mexico into the United States," Bishop DiMarzio said.
ICMC Celebrates 50 Years
September 15, 2001 is the date set for The International Catholic Migration Commission 50th Anniversary Dinner celebration at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Persons who will be honored include: Superior General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, Jesuit Refugee Service; His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Washington, DC; Frank A. Olson, Chairman, The Hertz Corporation; Gabriela Rodriguez Pizarro, UN Rapporteur on Migrants' Rights; and Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission.
Ordination of Foreign Born Priests Increases; Largest Number from Vietnam and Mexico
Ordination of foreign born priests is on the increase according to a survey conducted by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Vocations Committee. The largest number, five percent each, came from Mexico and Vietnam.
The committee annually surveys ordination classes and releases information in the Spring, when ordinations generally occur. The profile of the Class of 2001 was developed by Dean R. Hoge of the Life Cycle Institute of The Catholic University of America. The analysis included data on 343 seminarians who submitted information by March 31. Still incomplete survey results indicate that more than 400 men have been or will be ordained in 2001.
Among the highlights of the class of 2001:
Fifty percent were under 35 years of age.
The mean age is 36.2.
Thirteen percent are Hispanic.
Seven percent are Asian or Pacific Islander.
One percent are African-American.
Twenty-eight percent of the class were born outside the United States, and 35 percent of these men came to the United States before they were 20.
Catholic school education showed a strong influence with 64 percent attending a Catholic elementary school, 54 percent a Catholic high school and 56 percent a Catholic college before entering the seminary. A total of 39 men cited military experience. Parish involvement proved to be significant, with 53 percent reporting they had been Eucharistic ministers, 59 percent, lectors; and 61 percent altar servers.
The 2001 questionnaire introduced a series of questions about the ordinands' experience with vocation programs. "The vocation encouragement most often remembered was personal contact, especially by a priest, friend, or seminarian. Second most common were retreat programs," Hoge said. "Of various advertising methods in use to encourage vocations, the most effective is personal contact."
Traditional Filipino Marian Celebration Turns Multicultural
The Parish of the Resurrection in Jersey City celebrated the 22nd annual "Santakruzan" and "Flores de Mayo" on Sunday, May 27, 2001. These are two popular Marian religious devotions of Filipino Catholics held in May. Children and teenage parishioners of Resurrection Parish participated in a procession and offered flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The celebration has become multicultural attracting the participation of young Marian devotees from the Vietnamese, Hispanic and African-American communities. An Italian band accompanied the statue of the Blessed Virgin in the procession.
Cecile Motus, PCMR Ethnic Ministries Coordinator was invited this year provide catechetics on Marian devotions.
Filipino Charismatics Urged To Bond With Local Church
Cecile Motus (second from left), Irma Isip, Asian Pacific Ethnic Ministries Archdiocesan Director for Los Angeles (third from right), Fr. Ed Abano, Head Servant of AFCCPC) with Filipino lay leaders.
"All lay movements and groups need a strong bond with the local church as a mark of authenticity," said Cecile Motus, Coordinator for Ethnic Ministries at MRS/PCMR. "Filipino American charismatic groups have the right to associate on their own authority to carry out the mission of Christ but they must witness to a strong and authentic communion in filial relationship to the local bishops and priests in the United States."
Motus gave these remarks at the close of the liturgy celebrating the 11th National Convention of the Alliance of Filipino Catholic Charismatic Prayer Communities in North America. Some three thousand participants attended the gathering at the Los Angeles Convention Center on May 25-27, 2001. Two bishops from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Teodoro Bacani, DD and Bishop Ramon Arguelles, DD,and Fr. Leonardo Polinar were the keynote speakers. Adult participants appreciated the wide range of topics in the four workshop sessions offered. Topics included: "The Holy Father's Vision for the New Springtime", "Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit", We Are One Body, One Spirit in Christ", "We Are the Disciples of Jesus", "We are Called to Be Community: and "Mini Life in the Spirit Seminar". The Youth Track also offered four workshop sessions.
Motus also said that many charismatic renewal groups are indeed revitalizing parishes where they are actively evangelizing and are providing a spirit of nourishment to many Filipino American families. She urged the participants to reach out to communities other than Filipinos to be pastoral agents in the growing multicultural parishes they belong.
Scalabrini International Migration Institute Offers Courses on the Social Philosophy and Pastoral Theology of Human Mobility
Within the Faculty of Philosophy of the Pontifical Urbaniana University SIMI organizes:
- A two-year Licence program in "The Social Philosophy of Human Mobility" for those who hold a Baccalaureate in Philosophy or, subject to examination, have completed at least two years of philosophical studies in an Academic Institution;
- A two-year program for the title of Master Degree in "The Social Philosophy of Human Mobility," for those who hold a college/university degree (BA equivalent or higher).
TPS Extended for Hondurans and Nicaraguans
On May 3 the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans and Nicaraguans until July 5, 2002. The extension permits Hondurans and Nicaraguans who have already registered for TPS, "been continually present in the United States as of January 5, 1999" and "continually resided in the U.S. since December 30, 1998" to remain in the U.S. and apply for employment authorization. According to the INS, the extension affects about 105,000 Hondurans and 5,300 Nicaraguans who previously registered for TPS under the provisions established in response to the destruction wrought in their home countries by Hurricane Mitch.
The re-registration period began on May 8, when the extension was published in the Federal Register (Volume 66, Number 89, pages 23269-23271), and "continues for 90 days" from this date.
Congratulations are in Order!
Congratulations to Sr. Patricia Scherer, Director of the Ethnic Ministries Office in the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa for her recent award from the National Conference For Community and Justice. Sr. Pat has been an active member of the MRS network for several years and has been very involved in assisting in the successful resettlement of Sudanese youth in her diocese.
Congratulation to the Diocese of Brooklyn Refugee Resettlement Program for celebrating its 30th Anniversary on June 23, 2001 at 5:00 p.m. in St. James' Cathedral. The staff of Migration and Refugee Services and all its networks extend our heartfelt congratulations!
NCCB/USCC Becomes USCCB
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United States Catholic Conference are being renamed the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops effective July 1, 2001.
This will not affect any chance in the activities or programs of the Conference but simply how the Conference is identified. Please modify your records accordingly to note this change. Effective July 1, the web site will be: www.usccb.org. All other address, telephone, and fax information remains the same.
Abandoned: The Betrayal of America's Immigrants is an excellent documentary examining the damaging effects of the 1996 immigration laws. The film provides a backdrop/background for understanding these laws and compellingly explores the lives of immigrants affected by them. MRS/PCMR staff have reviewed the film and found it to be a helpful resource for workshops. You may order a 54 minute version (Spanish or English) or a 32 minute version (English) for $59 ($39/copy for 10 or more). Please contact Bullfrog Films by phone (800-543-3764) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Spanish version of the Bishops' pastoral statement: Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity and its accompanying brochure are now available from OPPS. The order numbers are as follows:
No. 5-375 Welcoming the Stranger Among Us - English
No. 5-848 Welcoming the Stranger Among Us - Spanish
No. 5-404 Called to Welcome the Stranger Among Us (Brochure) - English
No. 5-849 Called to Welcome the Stranger Among Us (Brochure) - Span.
To Order: Telephone USCC Office of Publishing and Promotions (OPPS) between 9:30 am- 5:00 pm M-F at 1-800-235-8722. Bulk discounts are available.
Samoan Prayer books The Samoan Catholic Community in the Diocese of Honolulu has recently published a 72 page prayer booklet in the Samoan language complete with mass parts, common prayers, stations of the cross, and more. Booklets are for sale for $3/each plus S&H. Please contact Fr. Sebastian Chacko in Hawaii at (808) 696-3773 or via e-mail at email@example.com.