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Festive, Sobering Mass by Jesuit Groups Celebrated Immigrants and Urged Reform of U.S. Immigration Laws
Monday, Feb. 7, 2011
SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 7, 2011— In a day marked by upbeat music, colorful garb, and bracing testimonials, several Bay Area Jesuit institutions held a Catholic Mass Saturday as an expression of solidarity with immigrants to the United States.
The event, held at Most Holy Trinity Church, a Jesuit parish in San Jose, was at times festive and at times solemn, as the congregation listened to the stories of four immigrants who have seen their families ripped apart or lives upended in pursuit of a better life in America.
One college student was forced to disclose her father’s whereabouts to immigration officials as the price of being freed to attend college. A mother of four described how her husband was absent for months as he tried to get back home after a visit to his ailing mother in Mexico. A young man who has spent almost his entire life in the U.S. discussed how daily uncertainty has made planning for the future nearly impossible.
The gathering’s theme was “The Jesuit Family Welcomes the Stranger,” and was part of a nationwide effort to advocate for civil discourse and movement on immigration reform. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who accepted a letter from the groups urging immigration reform, told the near-capacity crowd that she “agreed with every word” but that more lawmakers needed to be persuaded as well.
The mass also featured rousing music during the liturgy and contributions from parishioners from Samoa, Vietnam, Mexico, Latin America and the Phillippines, many decked out in colorful and festive outfits.
The groups who jointly sponsored or supported the Mass were:
Since last year, Jesuits and others throughout the U.S. have been praying and advocating for comprehensive reform with the following attributes:
Jesuit leaders around the country also have been shining a spotlight on the subject of immigration law reform this year, through projects like the Kino Border Initiative (a Mexico-based program of direct assistance to those deported from the U.S.), Masses (Catholic church services) focused on immigrant concerns, and letter campaigns to Congress and President Obama.
The letter to lawmakers can be found here: http://www.scu.edu/scunews/ourstories/jesuit-immigration-letter.cfm
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