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Welcoming the Stranger USCCB ~ excerpts


As Catholics we are called to take concrete measures to overcome the misunderstanding, ignorance, competition, and fear that stand in the way of genuinely welcoming the stranger in our midst and enjoying the communion that is our destiny as Children of God. We commit ourselves, accordingly, to working to strengthen understanding among the many cultures that share in our Catholic faith, to promoting intercultural communication among our people, and to seeing that those in ministry to our communities gain the language and cultural skills necessary to minister to the immigrants in our midst.


The welcome and hospitality that we ask our parishes to extend to newcomers must include active efforts on the part of the pastor and parish staff, individuals and families, parish councils, liturgy committees, social concern entities, youth groups, and other parish organizations to undertake the special effort necessary to learn about the cultures in their midst and to exchange visits with worship communities and parishes where different cultural groups make their homes. Special events such as international dinners, common social events, and multicultural parish feasts can help to introduce the various members of the parish to other cultures and can lead to greater exchanges between groups. The parish is encouraged to sponsor forums in which members of different cultures can openly share their unique backgrounds and identify areas of unity.


The immigrants among us thus bring a richness that we are bound to embrace, for their sake and for our own. As Pope Paul VI noted, in words recently recalled by Pope John Paul II, "The Church can regard no one as excluded from its motherly embrace, no one as outside the scope of its motherly care. It has no enemies except those who wish to make themselves such. Its catholicity is no idle boast. It was not for nothing that it received its mission to foster love, unity and peace among men" (Ecclesiam Suam, no. 94).


For Catholics especially, a recognition of failures in the face of the opportunities and challenges of the new immigration should serve as a call to a renewal of baptismal vows, through repentance and a sharing in the mercy of the one Lord who would gather all to himself in the unity of the children of God.


"Nativism" assumes that there is just one image of a "real American" and that immigrants either cannot live up to it or willfully refuse to do so. Originally directed against Catholics of all sorts, today such nativism can be seen in a campaign against "multiculturalism" in all its forms, on the premise that reverence for distinctive traditions and histories undermines the unity of American society. Like the Catholic "Americanizers" of the nineteenth century, who opposed the establishment of national parishes, the critics of multiculturalism today want immigrants and other distinctive groups to shed their languages, customs, and identities as quickly as possible, to become Americans "just like the rest of us." But "the rest of us" are, in fact, a culturally plural society—Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims; believers and non-believers; Southerners and Northerners; Irish, Italian, and Mexican—proud of our heritages and proud to be Americans, all at once.


The eucharistic celebration is central to church life and to our communion as Catholics with one another in the one Lord. Whenever the diverse cultures of parish and diocese are able to share the Eucharist in special celebrations that reflect the cultural riches of the participants, the Church demonstrates in the sacrament of our unity the multicultural face of the Church, proclaiming "with joy and firm faith that God is communion, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, unity in distinction, and that he calls all people to share in that same Trinitarian communion" (Ecclesia in America, no. 34).


…the illegal immigrant comes before us as a stranger within whom Jesus asks to be recognized. To welcome him and to show him solidarity is a duty of hospitality and fidelity to Christian identity itself. ~ Pope John Paul II


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Lturgical Council Program - March

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 "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
It is always an active peace.
I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
to do everything that they can,
what I can do from here.
Peace is the language we must speak."
Pope Francis



                                            ~Pope FRANCIS