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Archdiocese, others reach out with welcoming, loving hands

Several Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are organizing a "Solidarity Walk and Mass With Our Immigrant and Refugee Brothers and Sisters" on Saturday, April 8, from St. Louis University to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

Participants will assemble at noon at the Clock Tower on the SLU campus for an opening prayer. They then will embark on a prayerful procession west on Lindell Boulevard to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue, for a multilingual Mass at 1:30 p.m.

In January, as part of National Migration Week, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson issued a pastoral statement on immigration and reconciliation to reaffirm his pastoral commitment "to accompany our immigrant and refugee families."

Archbishop Carlson called on the faithful of the archdiocese and others to join him to reach out with welcoming and loving hands. "May our commitment to walk with the immigrant and refugee be a light in the darkness for others to see and follow," he wrote.

The walk on April 8 is organized by the archdiocese's Peace & Justice Commission, Office of Hispanic Ministry, and Office of Interreligious and Ecumenical Affairs; Catholic Charities of St. Louis, its St. Francis Community Services Southside Center and Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry and the Language Access Multicultural People (LAMP) program; four parishes; St. Louis University; and 16 communities or entities of men and women religious.

Archbishop Carlson wrote that "as a people of God and citizens of this great nation, we have remained attentive to the immigrant history, culture and identity that binds us together as a striving, welcoming and flourishing society."

He noted that former immigrant generations also faced hate and discrimination. Yet, "the promise of being one in Christ, while not perfected in our time, provides for us the right direction to follow. ... This compassion for those who are hungry, thirsty and perceived to be strangers among us is a priority for us as a people of faith and Church."

In his pastoral statement, Archbishop Carlson noted the dilemmas and fears facing Hispanic families because of the uncertainty of the unfolding political and social environment as well as anti-immigrant sentiments and fear-mongering.

Archbishop Carlson also issued a statement opposing the president's executive order to turn away refugees and to narrow or close the nation's doors to migrants.

Members of the Hispanic community in the archdiocese gathered with Archbishop Carlson recently in prayer and conversation at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Ferguson. They discussed discipleship, living in community, the resistance they face, and how to be a people of service. 

>> Solidarity Walk and Mass

When: Saturday, April 8

What and Where: Noon assembly at the Clock Tower on the St. Louis University campus, prayerful procession on Lindell Boulevard to Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for 1:30 p.m. Mass celebrated by Father John O'Brien, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Ferguson, with concelebrant Father John Nahal, rector of St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral.

Parking: Free in the Laclede Garage on SLU's campus with van shuttle available.

More information: Contact Marie Kenyon at (314) 792-7062 or mariekenyon@archstl.org. 

RELATED ARTICLE(S):U.S. bishops ask Catholics to accompany migrants and refugees

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