From the Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation

By Bill Hurley, Associate & Co-Chair, Immigration Committee

The following is from the Autumn 2021 issue of Vision.

When Pope Francis released Laudato Si’ in 2015, the Immigration Committee—functioning within the Congregation’s Ministry of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation—realized that the document provided a road map to achieving our mission.

Photo: Vatican Media

In his introduction, Pope Francis writes, “I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.” Throughout the remainder of this encyclical, one can easily recognize the Mission Statement of the Sisters of Charity, especially the words “by revealing God’s love in our lives and our varied ministries with and for all in need.”

As Catholics, we believe every one of us is created in the image of God. God is love. Therefore, as Catholics, we love all human beings living on our earth, our common home. Pope Francis reminds us that God’s creation of our world and all its living entities is a gift from God. The care of creation is strongly linked to protecting human dignity. This protection includes all who live in poverty and are vulnerable.

Through its work, the Immigration Committee has made efforts to assist the immigrant community. These efforts have focused on advocacy, working with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Justice for Immigrants campaign, the New York Immigration Coalition, New Sanctuary Coalition and NETWORK Lobby and Faith in Action. The committee:

» advocates for comprehensive immigration reform

» writes letters to local, state and federal elected officials

» has accompanied undocumented persons to immigration hearings

» and has advocated against walls built to separate God’s people.

The Immigration Committee raises awareness of and addresses the root causes of migration, especially among people from the Northern Triangle—Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Conversations with Barbara Ford Peacebuilding Center staff and participation in the Faith in Action Root Causes Initiative advocacy meetings connect committee members with people who experience the corruption, violence, drug trafficking, poverty and hunger that force people to travel north for survival.

In response to Pope Francis’s plea to assist ALL in need, efforts seek to promote systemic change. We believe this philosophy will help us to be a small part of effecting positive changes worldwide. We stand with and for the vulnerable.

Laudato Si’ speaks to every one of us. Pope Francis directly tells us that throughout the world we are faced with a problem that should be inspiring us to search inside ourselves and ask, “Am I responsible for someone’s loss of dignity?” He states that it is not enough to live our own lives with dignity. He emphatically reminds us that “No one has the right to take it from us.” The Immigration Committee strives to enact these words.