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Migrants are our spiritual brothers & sisters: USCCB

By Sarah Mac Donald - 04 January, 2015

US Conference of Catholic Bishops launches National Migration Week 2015 today.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston distributes communion at the Mexican border.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston distributes communion at the Mexican border.

Courtesy: Independent Catholic News (http://www.indcatholicnews.com)

National Migration Week 2015 will take place from January 4–10 with the theme: ‘We are One Family under God’ the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced.

The celebration of National Migration Week provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the hardships faced by migrants, including children, refugees and victims of human trafficking.

“Migrants –including children, immigrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking– are our spiritual brothers and sisters,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration.

“They often find themselves isolated, alone and separated from family, their ability to live out their lives in fullness severely restricted. Often family members are separated from one another because of deportation, detention, or related immigration laws that inhibit family reunification.”

As part of the 2015 National Migration Week celebration, the USCCB established a small grant program that will provide Catholic parishes, schools and other organisations funding to help them better integrate the Church’s teaching on migration into new or existing programmes, materials, events and other activities.

Grant recipients will be announced during National Migration Week.

“We are all created equal in God’s image,” said Bishop Elizondo.

“There is no such thing as an illegal human being. During National Migration Week we should not only pray for our brothers and sisters who are marginalised but also advocate that protections are provided to them, for they need them most.”

The observance of National Migration Week began over 25 years ago by the US bishops to give Catholics an opportunity to take stock of the wide diversity of peoples in the Church and the ministries serving them.

The week serves as both a time for prayer and action to try and ease the struggles of immigrants, migrants and vulnerable populations coming to America and a time for reflection on the Church’s call to “welcome the stranger.”

The 2015 National Migration Week marks 50 years of service by USCCB Migration and Refugee Services.

Dioceses across the country have planned events for National Migration Week. Masses will be celebrated in Los Angeles; Palm Beach, Florida; San Bernardino, California; Chicago and Miami among others.

Forums, vigils, and other special events will take place in Minneapolis; Knoxville, Tennessee; Chicago and Washington.

Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download at www.usccb.org/nationalmigrationweek.

Posters, prayer cards, and booklets can be ordered through the USCCB publishing service at www.usccbpublishing.org or by calling 800-235-8722.

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