SOMERVILLE – Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen and other Catholic Bishops of New Jersey are encouraging Catholics to support comprehensive immigration reform.
In April, eight U.S. Senators introduced a bill to reform the immigration laws of this country, which has quickly gained bipartisan support – including the support of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.
In a show of solidarity with the U.S. Bishop’s endorsement of the proposed legislation, about 400 faithful of the Diocese of Metuchen gathered Wednesday evening at a bi-lingual (English/Spanish) Mass for Immigrants and Immigrant Families.
Bootkoski, principal celebrant and homilist of the evening liturgy held at Immaculate Conception Parish, told worshippers that comprehensive immigration reform is an essential aspect of Catholic social teaching and a priority of the Catholic Church in this country.
The Mass, he said, was offered as a sign of unity and of hope that there soon will be the passage of new legislation that would be just and compassionate towards immigrants and their families, which is aligned with the principles of Catholic support for immigration reform.
“We are all brothers and sisters and we all have come from different backgrounds. And when we take our traditions and cultures and put them together with the scriptures and Catholic teachings, we embrace the concept of sharing, of reaching out, of giving of oneself, and always being there for the other.”
“People came to these shores for a better life. Many of us have been blessed. We have an obligation now to share with one another. And the call of that obligation is based upon our faith in Jesus Christ. We need to pull together so this will be a greater country – a country that has open arms to the immigrant seeking a better life. Let’s hope, as a faith community, as Catholics, we can do something about it,” Bootkoski concluded.
After Mass, immigration specialists from Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen were available to answer individuals’ questions about U.S. immigration and provided a sign-up sheet for those who were interested in setting up a future consultation. There was also a sign-up sheet for volunteers to assist those who apply for immigration status after the proposed law is passed.
On their way out of the Church, attendees also had the opportunity to fill out postcards to support immigration reform, which will be delivered to legislators in each district of the diocese. Others who are interested in participating in this grassroots campaign can visit www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
To further inform and engage Catholics in supporting immigration reform, Bishop Bootkoski has declared Sunday, June 9 as “Justice for Immigrants Sunday” in the Diocese of Metuchen. During Masses of that weekend, parishioners across the four-county diocese will have the opportunity to learn more about the USCCB’s support of comprehensive immigration reform, and why it is an essential aspect of Catholic Social Teaching and a priority of the Catholic Church in this country.
Anyone interested in learning how to support immigration reform may call the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry at 732-562-1990 ext. 1625 or visit http://diometuchen.org.
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