WASHINGTON - A Day of Prayer with a focus on the plight of refugees and migrants will take place across the United States on December 12, 2016, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It will be a time to place before a merciful God the hopes, fears, and needs of all those families who have come to the U.S. seeking a better life.
"As Christmas approaches and especially on this feast of Our Lady, we are reminded of how our savior Jesus Christ was not born in the comfort of his own home, but rather in an unfamiliar manger," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). "To all those families separated and far from home in uncertain times, we join with you in a prayer for comfort and joy this Advent season," Cardinal DiNardo added.
Prayer services and special Masses will be held in many dioceses across the country as the Catholic Church continues to accompany migrants and refugees seeking an opportunity to provide for their families. If you are unable to attend or there is not one near you, Catholics are invited to offer prayers wherever they may be. For example, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' office of Migrant and Refugee Services (MRS) has also developed a Scriptural Rosary entitled "Unity in Diversity" that includes prayers for migrants and refugees at http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/Scriptural-Rosary-Eng.pdf.
"So many families are wondering how changes to immigration policy might impact them," said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice-president of the USCCB. "We want them to know the Church is with them, offers prayers on their behalf, and is actively monitoring developments at the diocesan, state, and national levels to be an effective advocate on their behalf."
In the coming days, the USCCB will be developing additional pastoral resources, reflecting the active collaboration of various USCCB Committees whose mandates touch on the concerns of migrants and refugees. These efforts will continue to follow the basic principles contained in Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, the 2003 pastoral letter issued jointly by the bishops of the United States and Mexico. A pamphlet introducing and summarizing this document is available in both English (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/strangers-no-longer-together-on-the-journey-of-hope.cfm) and Spanish (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/juntos-en-el-camino-de-la-esperanjuntos-en-el-camino.cfm/).