Doubly Proud

Not that New York City needs a shout to be identified on the map, but we in Brooklyn are proud of our two new local Cardinal-designates, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien. We congratulate them on the occasion of their being so named by Pope Benedict XVI on Jan. 6 and look forward to their official elevation to the College of Cardinals at the consistory on Feb. 18 in Rome.

Both are men of deep spirituality and extraordinary personal charisma. They are esteemed for their pastoral work, both nationally and abroad. They also share the distinction of having been rectors, consecutively, of the North American College in Rome. Thus their dedication in this capacity and in other related positions to the formation and education of priests and seminarians is especially heartening as we celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week (Jan. 9-14). May the Lord continue to prosper the work of their hands.[hr]

Diocese of Immigrants

Never lacking the will and the energy to celebrate our many blessings at the same time, the Church in the U.S. prepares for the Sunday, Jan. 15, “World Day of Migrants and Refugees,” by denoting this same week (Jan. 9-15) also as National Migration Week. It is appropriately a time of prayer in which we join — and for many reasons.

We are a diocese, grown and enriched spiritually, culturally, socially and in countless other ways by generations of immigrants.  No poetry, however beautiful — from the Joycean description of the Roman Catholic Church (“Here Comes Everybody”) to G.K. Chesterton’s comparison of the Church to a house with a thousand doors — can completely capture the full mystery of how the Church itself grows by embracing its mission that calls everyone to the development of their full humanity.

Central to all human development is the ability to move freely through the world that God created for everyone to cultivate and enjoy. From age to age, this involves the Church in the constant work of penetrating barriers that separate people, be they racial, economic, geo-political or anything other. At times the struggle will take on the form of resistance to existing structures, the protest of injustice or the promotion of the commerce of free trade and travel, policies for immigrants that support the unification and stability of families, defense of the rights of migrant workers and refugees seeking political asylum.

As the “refuge of sinners” the Church is summoned to see migrants as persons first before they are classified or numbered by documents, cash or commerce they might bring. The American Bishops have a long and noteworthy history of action in advocacy and education on the many facets surrounding migration, refugees and the trafficking of human persons. We are thankful for their leadership and for the efforts of all of those, nationally and locally, whose prayer, dedication, intelligence and hard work focus on the universal call to salvation.
It is important to remember that the phenomenon of migration opens up unique opportunities for evangelization. It offers Christian communities the chance to bear witness to Jesus Christ, especially through respectful dialogue and the concrete witness of solidarity. As Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, noted recently: “Migrants can also reawaken drowsy Christian consciences, calling people to a more coherent Christian life.”