Open Our Hearts, Open Our Arms, Open Doors in Welcome!
by Barbara Loud, CSJ
We welcome you to our prayer service for migrants and refugees during National Migration Week. Surely, at the current time in our country, both locally and nationally, there is a desperate need to stand with our migrant brothers and sisters.
Pope Francis has called us to a two-year Global Migration Campaign called Share the Journey which was begun in September. He said, “We must strive and ask for the grace to create a culture of ENCOUNTER that restores to each person his or her own DIGNITY. Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all.”
Pope Francis leads by example. He went to Lampedusa soon after hundreds of migrants drowned off its shore. He went to Greece, returning with three Syrian refugee families, bringing them to Rome, sharing meals at his home. On Holy Thursday he washed the feet of 12 refugees – Muslim, Hindu, Coptic Christian, and Catholic.
We are so aware of all that is happening in our country that is in need of our support.
- DACA: The 800,000 young people (the Dreamers) brought here as children now live in fear that they will be deported to a country they do not know. They have grown up here, gone to school here, and have been very productive people.
- TPS: (temporary protective status) especially people from Haiti who will lose this status in the coming year and the 200,000 from El Salvador who now will lose their status in September, 2019.
- Persons from the various Muslim countries who are now banned from even visitin.
- The many undocumented men and women who are now in custody – many who have lived here for a long time, raised families, bought homes, paid taxes, are an integral part of many communities, and now are fighting against deportation. For example: The janitor from MIT who was recently released, at least temporarily, but there are so many others like him who are still in custody.
We are called to “Open our hearts, open our arms, open our doors in welcome.”
We Stand in Solidarity with Millions Who Suffer in a Situation of Bondage
by Mary Jane Cavallo, SNDdN
Today we celebrate the feast of Epiphany, the day Jesus is made known to the world. As I reflected about this feast, I wondered, “Why are we having this vigil? What has drawn us to this place, to this gathering?” It is because we believe, we have seen the star, the light who is Christ.
I am sure it would have been inviting to stay in our warm homes with a hot cup of tea. But we are here. We gather to remember, to pray, and to let our hearts be touched and moved to make a difference.
During this month dedicated to an awareness of human trafficking, we call to mind the millions of women, men, and children who are bought, sold, and exploited in sex and labor trafficking throughout the world. We need not go far to find victims. They are right here in our own neighborhoods.
Women religious in the Boston area sponsor and staff a safe house, Bakhita House. It is a collaborative initiative of several women’s religious congregations to offer trafficked women a home where love heals. Bakhita House has been made possible by pledges from many religious congregations, grants, donors, and by your prayerful support.
We continue to follow the Star that leads us to the God who dwells within each of us, because in the end, it is all about God!