WE WALK THE SACRED JOURNEY THIS WEEK
In The Word
I turned myself to other things, and I saw the oppressions that are done under the sun, and the tears of the innocent, and they had no comforter; and they were not able to resist their violence, being destitute of help from any. (Book of Ecclesiastes Ch 4: vs 1-4. Douay Rheims Version)
In Our Contemplation
The International Migration Network – whose purpose is to promote a moral vision of migration and policies and practices that respect the dignity of migrants and that benefit their communities of origin and destination – recently met in Rome. Excerpts from the transcript of that meeting help us value our own Immigration Statement’s commitment to justice for migrants who seek the happiness proper to every human being. “Human mobility has been a constant in human history and has enriched humanity. It has left its mark on every age, encouraging encounter between people and the birth of new civilizations.” (IMN)
CSJ’s have offered a positive narrative about immigration and a positive response to those who are migrants in these words: “Many who seek freedom on our shores are being denied the opportunity to create a meaningful future for themselves and their families. We believe that fundamental justice cannot be served without attending to their good as well as our own.” Clearly, our CSJ response mirrors what IMN participants described as an effective response to persons in their migration journey. It would have four elements: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.
To welome: simply put by both IMN “Welcome is an attitude that makes us see our neighbor as a brother or sister to be accepted rather than as a rival or someone to be bent to our will” (IMN) and by CSJ’s: “We will be present to people in their search for inclusion and intentionally recognize men, women, and children who are immigrants with whom we interact on a daily basis.”
To protect: in the face of vulnerability to exploitation, abuse and violence “we are to defend the inalienable rights of migrants from which no one can be exempted . . . and to translate this moral imperative into legal instruments and to implement constructive processes” (IMN) and, as CSJ’s are able to take: “political actions necessary to defend immigrants and refugees threatened by detention and deportation, and to seek the enactment of immigration reform leading to citizenship.”
To promote: evoked by the awareness that “protection is not enough . . . because migrants, exiles and refugees have the undeniable right of all human beings to access to the fundamental goods and possibilities of choice and growth” (IMN), CSJ’s have in mind “pastoral measures that strengthen fundamental human flourishing . . . and the well-being of immigrants, especially those brought here as children.”
To integrate: is to make new arrivals “sufficiently aware and open to the cultures, traditions, and laws of the host country, which is indispensable though not always simple and immediate” (IMN). CSJ’s appreciate the need to “educate ourselves and others on the value of inclusion and equality . . . and to encourage diversity and multi-cultural understanding.”
The International Migration Network asks: “How do we bring our national laws, international systems and hearts and minds into alignment with our moral obligations? We practice the law of reciprocity or the Golden Rule. ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.’ At this Passover time, we ought to see ourselves as having personally escaped bondage. This self-knowledge carries with it the responsibility to treat strangers with kindness and love. Refugees and migrants, in turn, overwhelmingly want to contribute to their new society and to make it known that they are not takers, criminals or terrorists. The loss of their infusion of talent and drive would be disastrous to our nation” (IMN) CSJ’s pledge to answer the call to inclusive love and “to respond with courage and fidelity whenever our actions require our sacrifice on behalf of others.” An impenetrable wall would kill compassion, charity, justice and love. So say we all.
In Our Prayer
As 78 percent of the Syrian refugees who have entered the U.S. are women and children, this prayer is particularly directed to their needs and our response.
Gracious God, you who guided Naomi and her family to look for bread in Moab, a foreign land, protect the women everywhere who have to leave behind their home or homelands so that they and their families can survive. May those who are fleeing from the famines that starve them and their children, find food both for their journey and their bodies. May those who are escaping the ravages of war find shelter and sustenance. May those who are seeking to stop the violence against them, help them hold on to their hope for a new beginning. May the land in which they seek refuge welcome them and treat them with hospitality. You who guided Ruth to go to the Promised Land, grant that, like her, women who are the spiritual descendents of those of old may be given the courage to see your face, your real presence, in the faces of women who have great need. Amen.
In Our Response
The attached list is your essential tool to contact the representative who serves the district where you live. Links to e-mail and website addresses give you contact also. Snail mail will also serve some purposes.
Phone-in Thursday (3-23) early a.m. Call your representative’s direct line (attached), or this hotline number (1-888-738-3058) and tell him/her to oppose the American Health Care Act which will create loss of health coverage and wellness for 24 million Americans and deprive the most vulnerable of Medicaid assistance. Calls to Rep Zeldin (1); King (2); and Donovan (11) are critical.
Phone-in Fridays (3/24) – (3/31) – (4/7) Call toll-free 1-855-589-5698 and follow recorded instructions to connect with your Congressperson. You want to urge them to support (and consider sponsoring) legislation that supports immigrants and refugees seeking protection and safety in the United States: the bills are: HR 920 and HR 921 which would repeal President Trump’s executive orders on border security and interior immigration enforcement; and HR 496 (The Bridge Act) which would protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Call the same number to connect with your Senator urging support and co-sponsorship for S 415 which would repeal the President’s executive order on interior enforcement and for S 128 (The Bridge Act)
Phone-in (now through April). Call your representative toll-free 1-866- 961-4293 and ask him/her to not to fund President Trump’s wall, deportation force and detention centers and to get him to rescind his executive orders. Use this petition link with the same message:
This links to a petition for fairness to children’s programs in creating the federal budget. As it stands now, the proposed budget will cut these needed program.
Congressional Telephone Numbers
District Representative Phone Fax Chief of Staff
- Lee Zeldin 1-202-225-3826 1-202-225-3143 Eric Amidon
- Peter King 1-202-225-7896 1-202-225-2279 Kevin C Fogarty
- Tom Suozzi 1-202-225-3335 1-202-225-4669 Michael Florio
- Kathleen Rice 1-202-225-5516 1-202-225-5758 Nell R. Reilly
- Gregory Meeks 1-202-225-3461 1-202-226-4169 Sophia Lafargue
- Grace Meng 1-202-225-2601 1-202-225-1589 Justin T Oswald
- Nydia Velazquez 1-202-225-2361 1-202-226-0327 Adam Minehardt
- Hakeem Jeffries 1-202-225-5936 1-202-225-1018 Cedric M Grant
- Yvette Clarke 1-202-225-6231 1-202-226-0112 Asi A Ofosu
- Jerrold Nadler 1-202-225-5635 1-202-225-6923 Any B Rutkin
- Daniel Donovan 1-202-225-3371 1-202-226-1272 Ronald Carara
- Carolyn Maloney 1-202-225-7944 1-202-225-4709 Michael Iger
14 Joseph Crowley 1-202-225-3965 1-202-225-1909 Kate Keating
New York State Senators
Kristin Gillibrand 1-202-224-4451 1-202-228-0282
Charles Schumer 1-202-224-6542 1-202-228-3027