Father's Day this year as for many families like mine, was a gathering at a home, park or restaurant. Our family gathered at my brother's house where three generation of families celebrated their fathers and asked God's blessing upon these great men whom we have been blessed to have in our family. I believe they learned from their role model, my dad who worked and spent his life taking care of 11 children and his wife with much love and care. He spent a lot of his spare time taking us out to enjoy the day at parks. Papi was a man of faith, who would have us pray the rosary together. On Sundays, our family would fill the whole pew at church. He was well remembered at our Father's Day gathering this year.
My family had a great time together and I gave thanks to the Lord for the time that we had together. This celebration made me happy but also sad. I couldn't help but think about all the children that have been separated from their fathers and mothers at the Mexico/U.S. border. I was feeling overwhelmed knowing that I could not do much about this situation alone. Imagine all the anxiety, sadness and pain the families must be going through. Just thinking about it brings tears and breaks my heart. I watched my sons, daughters, nieces and nephews interact with their little ones, and noticed some were hanging from their father's arms, while others ran to their mothers when someone they thought was a stranger came near them. I could not help but think about the families at the border and how much they cried and suffered at the separation. I can only imagine how much sadness these families are going through today by this separation. In addition, there are also all the refugees who had to flee their war-torn homes, they too suffer greatly. I know I can't do it singlehandedly, but with the help of many our voices will be heard and we can help change these situations.
It is important that we stand by our bishops and speak out on this atrocity. Together we can fight toward keeping these families together. I can't even imagine having to go through this dangerous journey because it is so bad at home. I know for a fact that I would do anything to keep my children safe. Instead these families arrive here only to get their children ripped from their arms. They don't know when they will see their children again. They are only asking for a chance to have a better life as many of our families did in the past.
To learn more about the impact these separations have on the children and the families developmentally and psychologically, what we can do, and to hear the stories about the families that are being separated today, go to the Justice for Immigrant website. There are also opportunities to be foster parents for these children who are unaccompanied or who have been separated from their families.
Share the Journey website contains, prayers for the migrant and refugee families. It also has information on joining or organizing a pilgrimage to support migrants and refugee on their journeys. Pray that the Lord gives us the strength to get out of our comfort zone. They need us to help them now.