February 25, 2016  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

The Immigration Summit “Hosting the Immigrant: a call to action,” will feature testimonials from immigrants and refugees, and Migrant Stations of the Cross, created with immigrants’ personal belongings found along the U.S.-Mexico border

Archbishop José H. Gomez will be joined by Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Dominic Luong, of the Diocese of Orange, and other Southern California bishops at the second annual Immigration Summit at Christ Cathedral (13280 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, 92840on Saturday, February 27, from 12 pm to 2:30 pm. The Summit is held parallel to the Religious Education Congress, hosted by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Office of Religious Education – the nation’s largest annual gathering of Catholics – at the Anaheim Convention Center (February 25-28).

Parish leaders from throughout Southern California gather each year at the summit to discuss the efforts of the Catholic Church to help immigrants who are impacted by the broken U.S. immigration system.  As part of the summit, the bishops will launch an integrative parish initiative that will help thousands of U.S. permanent residents on the path to citizenship.

“As a nation, all of us — not only our leaders — have a responsibility. Especially during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we cannot turn our heads and continue to look the other way while our brothers and sisters need our help,” said Archbishop Gomez. “We all need to work together — citizens, faith communities, government agencies and elected officials. We are very happy to help our brothers and sisters who already have a legal status as permanent residents, and let’s not forget that our system is broken and needs to be modernized to meet the realities of a global economy. Because the system is broken, many of our neighbors are suffering, including millions of families and children.”

The initiative, which is parallel to the Church’s ongoing efforts toward a comprehensive immigration reform and an answer to Pope Francis’ call to action during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, will bring together the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, diocesan administrations across the state, Catholic Charities, and local parishes in a coordinated effort to offer practical assistance for legal residents seeking citizenship. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are an estimated 2.4 million legal permanent residents eligible for naturalization in California.

Upon the conclusion of the meeting, the bishops and clergy will lead a procession through the Migrant Stations of the Cross displayed on the campus, called A journey of hope along the migrant trail: “A Via Crucis Migrante.” This was created with personal belongings of immigrants found along the U.S.-Mexico border. It offers a powerful, prayerful encounter that brings to light the plight of migrants, refugees and all the marginalized.

In honor of the Year of Mercy and Pope Francis’ faithful leadership on this issue, the procession will be led by the Cross of the Encuentros, blessed by the Holy Father during his visit to Philadelphia, which symbolizes the faith journey of Hispanic/Latino Catholics in the U.S. in the past 50 years. The Cross comes from El Paso, where it was held as a banner during the Mass presided by Pope Francis in Juarez.

Saturday’s Summit builds on the success of prior programs that resulted in parish-based workshops to help thousands of immigrants obtain their licenses under AB60, shelter and legal representation for unaccompanied minors, and community education classes and other resources for immigrants.

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