A Message from the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Response to Pope Francis’ Video Message During National Migration Week, January 8-15

WASHINGTON — The follow statement has been issued by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in support of Pope Francis’ video message issued today during National Migration Week. National Migration Week is an opportunity to recognize the contributions of immigrants, refugees, migrants and survivors of human trafficking in our communities as well as to highlight the work of the Church to serve and accompany newcomers. The theme for National Migration Week 2017 draws attention to Pope Francis’ call to create a culture of encounter.  Today, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles played Pope Francis' taped video message at the end of a Mass as part of National Migration Week celebrations. The video of Pope Francis' remarks can be found at the 56 minute mark in the following link: https://www.facebook.com/NOELDIAZESNE/videos/1716869905005089/  

Cardinal DiNardo’s statement in both English and Spanish as follows:   

This week, in large cathedrals and small parish churches across the country, people of faith are celebrating National Migration Week with prayer and sharing. This morning in Los Angeles, Pope Francis joined that prayer with a special video message.  It was an excellent reminder of how the universal Church gathers us, no matter our station in life, as one body in Christ.

In the days and weeks ahead, there will be intense debate over immigration reform and refugee policy. Ultimately, the question is this: Will our nation treat all migrants and refugees, regardless of their national origin or religion, in a way that respects their inherent dignity as children of God? Pope Francis reminds us we are all equal before God.  In equal measure, we are in need of and can receive God’s great mercy.  This is what makes us sisters and brothers, regardless of how we chose to divide ourselves. 

Achieving “one nation under God” has not always been easy, but each earlier period of immigration has ultimately strengthened our society.  Those who seek to do us harm must be kept from our shores, but those fleeing persecution in need of hope and ready to help us build a better America must be welcomed. We need not sink into the darkness of isolation.  Comprehensive immigration reform and a humane refugee policy are equally necessary and possible. We join our voice with the Holy Father and the universal Church in a continued witness to the love that unites us, praying for the strength to resist the fear that divides us.