By Lou Baldwin
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) – Karol Diaz, a fifth-grader at Assumption B.V.M. School in West Grove, was among the youngest of those attending the Liturgy of the Word for justice for immigrants and refugees led by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput March 19 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, Pa.
In very few words, Karol got to the heart of the matter.
“I’m here for my parents. They are immigrants and they don’t have papers,” he said.
This too was addressed by Philadelphia’s archbishop in his homily when he spoke of the fear and anxiety in the immigrant community.
“Parents are afraid of being separated from one another and their children,” Archbishop Chaput said. “Children are afraid that when they come home from school their parents will be gone.”
The purpose of the liturgy, the archbishop said, was to gather as a church to pray and reflect on the immigration issue that is a source of great division and polarization in the United States today.
“Since we are Christians we have a serious obligation, a vocation, to be concerned about justice, charity and mercy,” he said.
He acknowledged there are good people on both sides of the issue, and as followers of Jesus Christ, “we need to resist the temptation to demonize those with whom we disagree,” he said. “Unfortunately those who oppose immigration have weaponized this issue against others – especially against the immigrants.”
“It’s important for those of us who are Christians to be the source of justice and a source of peace in the church and in the world,” he added.
Archbishop Chaput made it very clear on which side the Catholic Church and the U.S. Catholic bishops stand. “We believe that good government should welcome foreigners out of charity and respect for the human person,” he said.
The homily was translated into Spanish, the language of many of the approximately 200 people in attendance.