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Sacred Heart’s Hispanic Focus Group Issues Statement

Ed Shea, OFM, was one of about 85 priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago who committed themselves to a complete fast on Ash Wednesday to urge support for the McCain-Kennedy bill which will hopefully change the current immigration system.

Ed was also part of the more than 100,000 people who marched in Chicago on March 10 to protest the so-called Sensenbrenner Bill that would make it illegal even to help people who are undocumented. The priests in Chicago will hold weekly prayer vigils throughout the season of Lent in front of key places like the Immigration Office and the office of Speaker-of-the-House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).

The friars of Sacred Heart Province involved in Hispanic ministry completed their annual spring meeting on March 9 at St. John Friary in Joliet, Ill. They spent some time talking about the need for immigration reform and drafted a concluding statement, provided here by Juan Carlos Ruiz Guerrero, OFM.

Ed Shea, OFM, introduces the group’s concluding statement by saying, “Here is where we stand; we invite the friars of the province to join us in prayer and fasting this Lent in support of our brothers and sisters.”

We, the friars of the Hispanic Ministry Focus Group, wholeheartedly support the work of the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform.

Our Catholic social teaching tells us that people have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families, that a country has the right to regulate its borders and to control immigration, and that countries must do so with justice and mercy.

In particular, we call for the rejection of H.R. 4437 which would make it a crime to help our immigrant brothers and sisters who are here in the United States without proper documentation. We support all efforts to legalize and not criminalize people who are here, and to support family unification and safety.

We submit this statement to our brothers in the Sacred Heart Province with the hope that we as a Province will support these brothers and sisters in Christ.

We encourage all Friars to contact your own Senators and Representatives to speak out on this issue.