Bottom photo: Rockhurst University students pray the prayer of "Justice for Immigrants" during a Mass for comprehensive immigration reform on campus.
September 26, 2013 — Nearly 30 Jesuit institutions across the country are hosting events in support of immigration reform during the week of September 22-29, 2013, as part of the Ignatian Solidarity Network's immigration advocacy effort, the "Fall Call for Immigration Reform." Jesuit institutions involved include 24 universities, two parishes, one high school and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and events will be held in 15 different states plus the District of Colombia.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network is a national social justice education and advocacy organization that works with Catholic institutions, primarily those sponsored by the Jesuits. The "Fall Call for Immigration Reform" includes supporting young people without documentation seeking higher education, maintaining family unity in all elements of the immigration system, protecting refugees and asylum seekers and respecting the rights of U.S. and immigrant workers.
“The advocacy of presidents, students and campus ministers from Catholic universities sends a clear moral message to elected officials that we must act now to fix our broken immigration system,” said Jesuit Father Kevin O'Brien, Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Planned events include more than 30 Catholic Masses and prayer services intentioned for humane immigration reform, educational events and legislative lobbying via letter writing and phone calls. Highlights include a "Border Fence" being built on the campus of SaintJoseph's University in Philadelphia; a bilingual Mass at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.; an interfaith prayer service at Regis University in Denver and Mass on the U.S.-Mexico border in Southern California with Loyola Marymount University students.
“The significant number of events on campuses and at parishes across the country demonstrates the significant desire that people of faith have for comprehensive immigration reform grounded in the Catholic value of human dignity,” said Christopher Kerr, Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “These actions send a strong message to the House of Representatives, including the 41 members who graduated from Jesuit universities, that Jesuit institutions support comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship.”
This initiative follows two important letters released this past summer. In May 2013, the U.S. Jesuit Provincials published a letter reiterating the call of the U.S. Catholic Bishops for immediate action on comprehensive immigration reform. In July, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and Faith in Public Life coordinated a letter from more than 100 Catholic university presidents urging Speaker John Boehner and the U.S. House of Representatives to fix an immigration system they described as “morally indefensible.” [Ignatian Solidarity Network, The Paramus Post]