La Salette Missionaries, Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas

Welcoming Migrants According to the Gospel

Editor: Bishop Mark J. Seitz, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, sent his pastoral letter, "Sorrowing and Mourning Flee Away: Pastoral Letter on Migration to the People of God in the Diocese of El Paso," on July 18, 2017. We offer the following video for your inspiration and enlightenment.

The Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, His Exc. Mgr. Mark J. Seitz, condemned the demonization of immigrants, the militarization of the border and the immigration system that divides families in a long pastoral letter published, July 18, 2017.

In the letter titled "Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away", Bishop Seitz, whose diocese is on the south-eastern border of Texas, argues that the country's security cannot be used as a "pretext for building walls and closing the door to migrants and refugees". The Bishop asks Catholics to listen to the teachings of the Church in order to welcome immigrants: "God has created a world where there is place for everyone at the banquet of life".

Untitled 1Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
"I do not want to substitute politics with the teachings of the Church, but as a Pastor, my duty is that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ", and the Gospel is clear: "The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born". Bishop Seitz also criticized the system that "allows some to stop human beings for profit reasons", while destroying "the country's historic commitment to refugees and asylum seekers".

The pastoral letter, sent to Fides, contains several testimonies of the Bishop himself regarding migrants, in order to allow us to reflect on the situation of border communities and the people of Central America in the "journey of hope". He also mentions the Holy Father's visit to that border four years ago, but since then things have not changed.

Mgr. Seitz says that although the immigration system is out of use, it has not been solved largely because "the elected leaders have not yet found the moral courage to implement a permanent and complete immigration reform" and migrants should not be the ones who pay the price.

The letter concludes with a call to unity: "Every year, the faithful of Ciudad Juarez, Las Cruces and El Paso come together to celebrate Mass at the border. We are divided by a wall or river, by an economy of exclusion and unjust migration policies, but despite all that divides us, this celebration is a joyful memory that the Eucharist of Christ builds New Humanity, bringing us together in the new Jerusalem".

Read Bishop Seitz’s letter, "Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away".
Untitled 2The steel border fence west of central Nogales, Arizona. (Credit: Nancy Wiechec/CNS.)

(Reprinted with permission of Agenzia Fides July 19, 2017)


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