Meet the California Catholics Supporting Immigration

Inspired by Pope Francis, this Catholic initiative aims to help legal residents become U.S. citizens.

California's Catholic Church, inspired by the recent comments made by Pope Francis during his U.S.-Mexico border visit, reaffirmed its support for all kinds of immigrants, both documented and undocumented. This decision was made during a summit which took place at Christ Cathedral. For immigrants in California, American citizenship will lead to a better life and Catholics will help them to do so.

According to Jose H. Gomez, an Archbishop of Los Angeles, 2016 is the year to encourage citizenship and naturalization. He said that there is a need to concentrate on immigration reform's human face: the names, the families and the stories. The human element includes fathers, mothers, daughters, and sons. It should be shown that these immigrants are the same as the immigrants that came to the United States many generations before. The speech was a sequel to what Pope Francis said in Ciudad Juarez. The pontiff has implored for compassion in dealing with immigrants.

Gomez said that the crisis must be measured in human terms– and not with documents. The latter does not make human beings human. The assembled gathering shared a few stories like a woman who works at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)-a nonprofit in Los Angeles which provides support to the unaccompanied children migrating from Central American countries. Another story concerned a nun who came to America from fleeing her native Vietnam. Anecdotes were also told of a family which came from Mexico and subsequently opened a supermarket chain, employing thousands. Another story comprised of a woman who was initially afraid to take the U.S. citizenship test, but hanged on. She passed and subsequently became a U.S. citizen.

Archbishop Gomez was well aware of the political controversy surrounding the U.S. immigration. There is a need for the continuance of the good work since immigration crisis affects so many people and their lives. He said that the U.S. citizens are good people and they love the United States and they prefer to do right things. However, the Archbishop said that they are frightened and confused. It is possible to help them so that they understand. It is possible to change their minds. About 400 leaders from the area attended this summit. Parishioners came from approximately 40 parishes located in Monterey, Fresno and San Jose dioceses. The culmination of the summit saw the Catholic clergy and bishops leading a procession through Migrant Stations of Cross.

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