“Five of us made a Lenten prayer together, giving testimony about Jesus’ command to ‘love one another’ as we campaigned for compassion for those who come to our country in need.”
-Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ
“In December I spent an afternoon in McAllen, Texas, at Sacred Heart parish,” said Fr. Tony Russo, SCJ. “There I saw the faces of migration in the refugee mothers and children being dropped off, welcomed and cared for at the parish center. To me it seemed like a modern day Ellis Island.
“This is what I reflected upon as I entered Lent, and that sometimes, prayer can lead to action.
“On March 6, four SCJs and Mark Peters, director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation for the US Province, went to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s office in Racine and shared with his aides our concerns about refugees and migrants.
“The Church invites us to pray more during Lent. Five of us made a Lenten prayer together, giving testimony about Jesus’ command to ‘love one another’ as we campaigned for compassion for those who come to our country in need.”
Constituents share their concerns
As Fr. Tony notes, on March 6 four SCJs (Fr. John Czyzynski, Fr Tony Russo, Br. Ben Humpfer and Fr. Paul Casper) along with Mark Peters, met with three members of Speaker Paul Ryan’s staff to share their concerns about the Trump administration’s executive order on immigration.
Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake is within Speaker Ryan’s district and thus the SCJs meeting with him weren’t just concerned citizens, they were also his constituents.
“We talked about our concerns that unaccompanied children are losing many protections that they had previously, that even one-year-olds are standing alone before immigration judges,” said Mark Peters.
“We talked about the three main principles of Catholic social teaching on immigration and border enforcement,” he continued. “We asked if Speaker Ryan would take the time to hear the stories of the undocumented, as we had (in fact, Fr. Tony extended a personal invitation to give him a tour of Raymondville), to examine the root causes of people fleeing their homelands, and to hire more judges so that we can reduce the backlogs that create up to a 20 year wait for a ‘path to citizenship.’
“What we heard was somewhat reassuring. We were told that they do not believe that people are being arrested or detained who previously wouldn’t have been, and that they only support deporting criminals. We asked if we could share with them reports that claim otherwise, and they said they would look at them. They claimed that they only wanted to see laws enforced, but otherwise were for a comprehensive, humane reform.”
Mark Peters summarized the meeting in a mailing to Milwaukee area SCJs. Click here to read it.