"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
Credit: Photo by Mark Lyons
The Church celebrates the World Day of the Sick every year on February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On this day, the sick and all those who care for and accompany them are especially remembered.
This year's theme is: Mater Ecclesiae: "Behold, your son ... Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home." (Jn 19:26-27)
The Pope's message, dated November 26, 2017, the feast of Christ the King, follows:
"... The Church's service to the sick and those who care for them must continue with renewed vigor, in fidelity to the Lord's command (cf. Lk 9:2-6; Mt 10:1-8; Mk 6:7-13) and following the eloquent example of her Founder and Master.
"The theme for this year's Day of the Sick is provided by the words that Jesus spoke from the Cross to Mary, His Mother, and to John: 'Woman, behold your son ... Behold your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home' (Jn 19:26-27).
"1. The Lord's words brilliantly illuminate the mystery of the Cross, which does not represent a hopeless tragedy, but rather the place where Jesus manifests His glory and shows His love to the end. That love in turn was to become the basis and rule for the Christian community and the life of each disciple.
"Before all else, Jesus' words are the source of Mary's maternal vocation for all humanity. Mary was to be, in particular, the Mother of her Son's disciples, caring for them and their journey through life. As we know, a mother's care for her son or daughter includes both the material and spiritual dimensions of their upbringing.
"The unspeakable pain of the Cross pierces Mary's soul (cf. Lk 2:35), but does not paralyze her. Quite the opposite. As the Lord's Mother, a new path of self-giving opens up before her. On the Cross, Jesus showed His concern for the Church and all humanity, and Mary is called to share in that same concern. In describing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Acts of the Apostles show that Mary began to carry out this role in the earliest community of the Church. A role that never ceases.
"2. John, the beloved disciple, is a figure of the Church, the messianic people. He must acknowledge Mary as his Mother. In doing so, he is called to take her into his home, to see in her the model of all discipleship, and to contemplate the maternal vocation that Jesus entrusted to her, with all that it entails: a loving Mother who gives birth to children capable of loving as Jesus commands. That is why Mary's maternal vocation to care for her children is entrusted to John and to the Church as a whole. The entire community of disciples is included in Mary's maternal vocation.
"3. John, as a disciple who shared everything with Jesus, knows that the Master wants to lead all people to an encounter with the Father. He can testify to the fact that Jesus met many people suffering from spiritual sickness due to pride (cf. Jn 8:31-39) and from physical ailments (cf. Jn 5:6). He bestowed mercy and forgiveness upon all, and healed the sick as a sign of the abundant life of the Kingdom, where every tear will be wiped away. Like Mary, the disciples are called to care for one another, but not only that. They know that Jesus' heart is open to all and excludes no one. The Gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed to all, and the charity of Christians must be directed to all, simply because they are persons, children of God.
"4. The Church's maternal vocation to the needy and to the sick has found concrete expression throughout the two thousand years of her history in an impressive series of initiatives on behalf of the sick. This history of dedication must not be forgotten. It continues to the present day throughout the world. In countries where adequate public health care systems exist, the work of Catholic religious congregations and dioceses and their hospitals is aimed not only at providing quality medical care, but also at putting the human person at the center of the healing process, while carrying out scientific research with full respect for life and for Christian moral values. In countries where health care systems are inadequate or non-existent, the Church seeks to do what she can to improve health, eliminate infant mortality, and combat widespread disease. Everywhere she tries to provide care, even when she is not in a position to offer a cure. The image of the Church as a 'field hospital' that welcomes all those wounded by life is a very concrete reality, for in some parts of the world, missionary and diocesan hospitals are the only institutions providing necessary care to the population.
"5. The memory of this long history of service to the sick is cause for rejoicing on the part of the Christian community, and especially those presently engaged in this ministry. Yet we must look to the past above all to let it enrich us. We should learn the lesson it teaches us about the self-sacrificing generosity of many founders of institutes in the service of the infirm, the creativity, prompted by charity, of many initiatives undertaken over the centuries, and the commitment to scientific research as a means of offering innovative and reliable treatments to the sick. This legacy of the past helps us to build a better future, for example, by shielding Catholic hospitals from the business mentality that is seeking worldwide to turn health care into a profit-making enterprise, which ends up discarding the poor. Wise organization and charity demand that the sick person be respected in his or her dignity, and constantly kept at the center of the therapeutic process. This should likewise be the approach of Christians who work in public structures; through their service, they too are called to bear convincing witness to the Gospel.
"6. Jesus bestowed upon the Church His healing power: 'These signs will accompany those who believe... they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover' (Mk 16:17-18). In the Acts of the Apostles, we read accounts of the healings worked by Peter (cf. Acts 3:4-8) and Paul (cf. Acts 14:8-11). The Church's mission is a response to Jesus' gift, for she knows that she must bring to the sick the Lord's own gaze, full of tenderness and compassion. Health care ministry will always be a necessary and fundamental task, to be carried out with renewed enthusiasm by all, from parish communities to the most largest healthcare institutions. We cannot forget the tender love and perseverance of many families in caring for their chronically sick or severely disabled children, parents, and relatives. The care given within families is an extraordinary witness of love for the human person; it needs to be fittingly acknowledged and supported by suitable policies. Doctors and nurses, priests, consecrated men and women, volunteers, families, and all those who care for the sick, take part in this ecclesial mission. It is a shared responsibility that enriches the value of the daily service given by each.
"7. To Mary, Mother of tender love, we wish to entrust all those who are ill in body and soul, that she may sustain them in hope. We ask her also to help us to be welcoming to our sick brothers and sisters. The Church knows that she requires a special grace to live up to her evangelical task of serving the sick. May our prayers to the Mother of God see us united in an incessant plea that every member of the Church may live with love the vocation to serve life and health. May the Virgin Mary intercede for this Twenty-sixth World Day of the Sick; may she help the sick to experience their suffering in communion with the Lord Jesus; and may she support all those who care for them. To all, the sick, to healthcare workers, and to volunteers, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing."
Pope Francis celebrated his 81st birthday on December 17 with children receiving care at the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary in the Vatican. The Pope made the following remarks:
"... The joy of children.... The joy of children is a treasure. Joyful children. And we must do everything we can so that they continue to be joyful, because joy is like good soil. A joyful heart is like good soil that makes life grow properly, with good fruit. And that is why this celebration is being held: we always seek the coming of Christmas to gather, to have this party for them.
"Listen closely. The first thing: safeguard the joy of children. Never dishearten children. Children suffer when they see there are problems at home, when their parents argue. Never dishearten children. They must always grow up with joy. Are you joyful? ['Yes!']. I don't believe you: yes or no? ['Yes!'] Excellent. This is joy.
"The second thing, so that children may grow up well: make them speak with their grandparents. The two extremes of life. Because grandparents have memory, they have roots, and it will be grandparents who give roots to the children. Please, may children not be uprooted, without the memory of a people, without the memory of the faith, without the memory of the many beautiful things that have made up history, without the memory of values. And who will help the children to do this? Grandparents. Let them speak with their grandparents, to the elderly. Do you talk to your grandparents? ['Yes!'] Are you sure? ['Yes!'] To ask for candy? ['No!']. No? Tell me ... sometimes, many times grandparents have passed away, isn't that true? But there are other elderly people who can serve as grandparents. Always speak with the elderly. I'll ask you a question; answer well: are grandparents, the elderly, dull? ['No! ... Yes!'] You.... ['They give us lots of presents!'] He is interested: they give us lots of presents! They are not dull, they are kind. Tell me.... ['They love us a lot!'] They love us a lot. May the children learn to speak with the elderly, to speak with their grandparents.
"And the third piece of advice I will give you: teach them to talk to God. Let them learn how to pray, to say what they feel in their heart.
"Joy, speaking with grandparents, with the elderly, and talking to God. Okay? Does everyone agree? You too, agreed? I wish you a lovely day, with much celebration. And eat the four metres of pizza: eat it up, it will do you good, it will make you grow. And carry on!
"Thank you! Thank you!
"And now let us all pray to Our Lady, that she give us her blessing: Hail Mary....
"And pray for me!"
Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini is an iconic saint with a loving, missionary heart. Pope Francis met with members of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a congregation she founded, on December 9, 2017 in Vatican City. These sisters serve on 6 continents and 15 countries. The Pope's remarks follows:
"... It is a great pleasure to welcome all of you, representatives of the Cabrinian Family, who wished to conclude in this way the celebrations for the centenary of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini's birth into heaven. On December 17, 1917, this holy woman - who had crossed the ocean some 24 times to assist immigrants in the Americas and who tirelessly pushed herself to the Andes and even to Argentina - died suddenly in Chicago, and departed on her final journey.
"I greet Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who follows you with such affection; and I thank the Mother, Barbara Louise Staley, for her words of greeting and for her active commitment wherever there are immigrants, making ever present the welcome and witness of Christian love.
"Saint Cabrini was a true missionary. She grew up keeping always before her the example of Saint Francis Xavier, the pioneer of evangelization in the East. She held China in her heart and she hoped to bring the message of the Gospel to that faraway land. She did not conceive of the thousands and thousands of migrants who, due to hunger, the shortage of work, and lack of a future set out for America with their few belongings, spurred by the dream of a better life. As we know, it was the foresight of Pope Leo xiii who, with a quip, caused her to change course: 'Not to the East, Cabrini, but to the West!' The young Mother, who had recently founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, had to open her eyes to see where God was sending her on mission; not where she had wanted to go, but where He had prepared the way for her, the way of service and holiness. This is the example of a true vocation: to forget oneself so as to abandon oneself fully to the love of God.
"After many years, the reality of migrants, to whom Saint Frances Xavier had dedicated her whole life, has evolved and is more relevant than ever. New faces of men, women, and children, marked by many forms of poverty and violence, are again before our eyes and are waiting to find along their way outstretched hands and open hearts like those of Mother Cabrini. You in particular are offered the responsibility to be faithful to the mission of your Holy Foundress. Her charism is extraordinarily timely, because migrants certainly need good laws, development programs, organization; but they also need, always and first and foremost, love, friendship, human closeness; they need to be listened to, looked in the eye, accompanied; they need God, encountered in the freely given love of a woman who, with her consecrated heart, is your sister and mother.
"May the Lord always renew in you the attentive and merciful gaze toward the poor who live in our cities and our towns. Mother Cabrini had the courage to look into the eyes of the orphaned children who were entrusted to her care, the unemployed young people who were tempted to commit crimes, the men and women exploited through the most humble labor; and this is why we are here today to thank God for her holiness. In each one of those brothers and sisters she recognized Christ's face and, gifted as she was, she was able to enhance the talents that the Lord had entrusted to her (cf. Mt 25:14-23). She had an outstanding sense of apostolic action; and if she had such great energy to accomplish extraordinary work within a few years, it was only through her union with Christ, after the example of Saint Paul, from whom she took her motto: 'I can do all things in Him who strengthens me' (Phil 4:13). A whirlwind life laden with work, endless journeys on foot, by train, ship, boat, horse...; creating out of nothing 67 charities including shelters, schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages, workshops ... all in order to propagate the power of the Gospel which had opened her heart, so that it could belong to everyone.
"Saint Cabrini lived the spirit of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Step after step, hers was a life offered entirely to comfort and to make the Sacred Heart known and loved. And this enabled her to look at the hearts of those to whom she drew near and assisted so as to respond to them in a coherent way. This important anniversary vividly reminds us all of the necessity of a faith capable of seizing the moment of grace that we experience. As difficult as it may seem, she tells us that we must do as she did: be able to understand the signs of our time, to read them in light of the Word of God, and to live them in such a way as to give a response that touches the heart of each person.
"Dear sisters and dear brothers who share the Cabrinian charism, I thank you for your efforts. I accompany you with the Apostolic Blessing, and I ask each one of you not to forget to pray for me."
Pope Francis prays every year on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, at the foot of the Spanish Square in Rome. The statue and column at this site were dedicated in 1857 to commemorate the dogma of the Immaculate Conception defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854.
The Pope's prayer follows:
For the fifth time I come to your feet as Bishop of Rome,
to honor you on behalf of all the residents of this city.
We wish to thank you for the constant care
with which you accompany our journey,
the journey of families, of parishes, of religious communities;
the journey of those who each day, at times with difficulty,
pass through Rome to go to work;
of the sick, of the elderly, of all the poor,
of so many people who have immigrated here from lands of war and hunger.
Thank you because, as soon as we address a thought to you
or a gaze or a quick 'Hail Mary',
we always feel your maternal, tender, and steadfast presence.
O Mother, help this city to develop "antibodies" against some of the viruses of our time:
indifference, which says: "It doesn't concern me";
the civic discourtesy which disregards the common good;
fear of those who are different or foreign;
transgression disguised as conformity;
the hypocrisy of accusing others while we do the same things;
resignation to environmental and ethical decay;
the exploitation of countless men and women.
Help us to reject these and other viruses with the antibodies that come from the Gospel.
Help us to develop the good habit of reading a passage from the Gospel each day
and, after your example, to cherish the Word in our hearts,
so that, as a good seed, it may bear fruit in our lives.
175 years ago, not far from here, in the Church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, you touched the heart of Alphonse Ratisbonne, who at that moment
from an atheist and enemy of the Church became Christian.
To him you revealed yourself as Mother of grace and mercy.
Grant that we too, especially in trials and in temptation,
may fix our gaze on your open hands,
which let the Lord's grace come down to the earth,
and divest ourselves of any proud arrogance
so as to recognize ourselves as we truly are:
small and poor sinners, but always your children.
And thus to place our hand in yours
so as to be led back to Jesus, our brother and Savior,
and to our heavenly Father, who never tires of waiting for us
and of forgiving us when we return to Him.
Thank you, O Mother, for always listening to us!
May you bless the Church that is in Rome,
bless this city and the entire world.
The PBS special "The Secrets of Spanish Florida" made public some little-known and newly discovered history of the southeastern United States, the Spanish colony of La Florida. The documentary told of how St.Augustine, the oldest still-inhabited city in our nation, was founded in 1565. It started with a Mass of thanksgiving for having survived the monster storm that had driven them off course, on the very day Irma would later strike.
It told based on archeology and rediscovered manuscripts of how Europeans, free Africans, Messianic Jews and Native Americans worked together to build community and rebuilt the city more than once. It told of the runaway slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and the "Black Yamasee" and of how the fourteenth and fifteenth colonies, Florida and West Florida, were forced to accept slavery.
Liz Stiles and Michael Marcinowski commented that the show did not cover the Minorcan slaves who escaped to St.Augustine in 1777. The show mentioned but didn't tell the whole story of the martyrs of Spanish Florida.
Franciscan missionaries were more successful than Jesuits had been in establishing missions in what are now Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. In 1573, nine Franciscan friars arrived. Fr. Maynard Geiger, a prominent Franciscan historian, notes that "at the height of activity there were 50 friars in 44 mission centers working for the welfare of 30,000 converted Indians."
Dr. Paul Thigpen, co-ordinator of the Friends of the Georgia Martyrs, says, "In our day, when the sanctity of marriage is so severely challenged, we desperately need the example, the courage, and the help of these heroic Christians. Because of their love for God, they gave their lives for the truth about marriage."
Some ministered to the Guale tribe who lived along what is now the Georgia coast. Their names were Pedro de Corpa, Blas Rodriguez, Miguel de non, Antonio de Badaj√≥z, Francisco de Verascola, and Francisco de Avila. De Avila lived to tell of the other missionaries' martyrdoms in September of 1597.
Life in the American mission field was harsh. Worse yet, the closest Spanish soldiers were far away in St. Augustine, so the friars had no protection from natives who might turn hostile.
Among the difficulties faced by the missionaries, perhaps the greatest was that of sharing Christ's teaching on marriage that marriage is a lifetime union of one man and one woman.
Juanillo, living in one of the missions, broke his promise of monogramy and took a second wife. Fray Pedro admonished Juanillo to repent. Instead he sought to rid himself of the "troublesome" friars.
When Fray Pedro was about to leave his cabin to celebrate Sunday morning Mass on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross he was killed, his body desecrated and left unburied for days. Fray Blas was permitted to celebrate Mass and to preach is last sermon. He said, "We, all of us, have to die someday. But what does pain me is that the Evil One has persuaded you to do this offensive thing against your God and Creator." He was clubbed to death and his body exposed.
Fray Miguel and Fray Antonio were warned and offered escape by other Indians, but stayed. Fray Miguel offered Mass on the feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis. The Gospel reading of the day contained Jesus' words: "Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Mt 16:25).
Fray Francisco was returning by canoe from St. Augustine with needed supplies and gifts for his Guale flock. He was attacked as he landed and his body was never found.
Pope Francis brought attention to children in his annual "urbi et orbi" ("to the city and the world") message on December 25. His address follows:
"... In Bethlehem, Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. He was born, not by the will of man, but by the gift of the love of God our Father, who 'so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life' (Jn 3:16).
"This event is renewed today in the Church, a pilgrim in time. For the faith of the Christian people relives in the Christmas liturgy the mystery of the God who comes, who assumes our mortal human flesh, and who becomes lowly and poor in order to save us. And this moves us deeply, for great is the tenderness of our Father.
"The first people to see the humble glory of the Savior, after Mary and Joseph, were the shepherds of Bethlehem. They recognized the sign proclaimed to them by the angels and adored the Child. Those humble and watchful men are an example for believers of every age who, before the mystery of Jesus, are not scandalized by His poverty. Rather, like Mary, they trust in God's word and contemplate His glory with simple eyes. Before the mystery of the Word made flesh, Christians in every place confess with the words of the Evangelist John: 'We have beheld His glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth' (Jn 1:14).
"Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline, Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize Him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, 'there is no place in the inn' (Lk 2:7).
"We see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. On this festive day, let us ask the Lord for peace for Jerusalem and for all the Holy Land. Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two States within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders. May the Lord also sustain the efforts of all those in the international community inspired by good will to help that afflicted land to find, despite grave obstacles the harmony, justice, and security that it has long awaited.
"We see Jesus in the faces of Syrian children still marked by the war that, in these years, has caused such bloodshed in that country. May beloved Syria at last recover respect for the dignity of every person through a shared commitment to rebuild the fabric of society, without regard for ethnic and religious membership. We see Jesus in the children of Iraq, wounded and torn by the conflicts that country has experienced in the last fifteen years, and in the children of Yemen, where there is an ongoing conflict that has been largely forgotten, with serious humanitarian implications for its people, who suffer from hunger and the spread of diseases.
"We see Jesus in the children of Africa, especially those who are suffering in South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Nigeria.
"We see Jesus in the children worldwide wherever peace and security are threatened by the danger of tensions and new conflicts. Let us pray that confrontation may be overcome on the Korean peninsula and that mutual trust may increase in the interest of the world as a whole. To the Baby Jesus we entrust Venezuela that it may resume a serene dialogue among the various elements of society for the benefit of all the beloved Venezuelan people. We see Jesus in children who, together with their families, suffer from the violence of the conflict in Ukraine and its grave humanitarian repercussions; we pray that the Lord may soon grant peace to this dear country.
"We see Jesus in the children of unemployed parents who struggle to offer their children a secure and peaceful future. And in those whose childhood has been robbed and who, from a very young age, have been forced to work or to be enrolled as soldiers by unscrupulous mercenaries.
"We see Jesus in the many children forced to leave their countries to travel alone in inhuman conditions and who become an easy target for human traffickers. Through their eyes we see the drama of all those forced to emigrate and risk their lives to face exhausting journeys that end at times in tragedy. I see Jesus again in the children I met during my recent visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh, and it is my hope that the international community will not cease to work to ensure that the dignity of the minority groups present in the region is adequately protected. Jesus knows well the pain of not being welcomed and how hard it is not to have a place to lay one's head. May our hearts not be closed as they were in the homes of Bethlehem.
"... The sign of Christmas has also been revealed to us: 'a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes' (Lk 2:12). Like the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we welcome in the Baby Jesus the love of God made man for us. And may we commit ourselves, with the help of His grace, to making our world more human and more worthy for the children of today and of the future.
"I offer a warm greeting to all of you, dear brothers and sisters from throughout the world gathered here in this Square, and to all those who in various countries are joined to us by radio, television, and other communications media.
"May the birth of Christ the Savior renew hearts, awaken the desire to build a future of greater fraternity and solidarity, and bring joy and hope to everyone. Happy Christmas!"
(A Christian Perspective on World News)
WASHINGTON - National Marriage Week USA and World Marriage Day are opportunities "to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage," said the chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on January 31.
"Promoting and strengthening marriage remains a pastoral priority of our Conference," wrote Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, in a letter to his brother bishops. "Marriage, both as a natural institution and as a Christian sacrament, is an irreplaceable good for society and all people."
National Marriage Week USA is celebrated each year February 7-14, and World Marriage Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of February, this year February 12.
The USCCB provides numerous resources that can be of assistance to bishops, priests, and lay leaders in promoting, strengthening, and defending the gift of marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman, including the websites For Your Marriage, Por Tu Matrimonio, and Marriage: Unique for a Reason. Archbishop Chaput encouraged participation in the "Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty," an invitation to prayer and sacrifice for the protection of life, marriage, and religious liberty in the country. His letter and additional resources, including a homily resource and bulletin insert, are available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-actio
A daily virtual marriage retreat for National Marriage Week is also available through Facebook: www.facebook.com/foryourmarria
The celebration of National Marriage Week in the U.S. began in 2002, originating from Marriage Week International. World Marriage Day, held the second Sunday of February each year, was started in 1983 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
(Source: USCCB press release)
WASHINGTON - Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offers a National Migration Week message to the nation with special gratitude for the gift of immigrants and refugees.
Cardinal DiNardo's statement as follows:
"On Sunday, the Catholic Church across the United States will celebrate the beginning of National Migration Week. For nearly 50 years, this week has been a time of prayer and reflection on our history as a migrant Church and nation. In these five decades, the face of the immigrant may have changed - European, Asian, South American, and elsewhere -- but their faces reveal a common desire to secure the great blessings of American opportunity.
Pope Francis, in his statement on the World Day of Peace on January 1, 2018, advises us that if we view the situation of migrants and refugees through the wisdom of our faith 'we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy, and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them.'
This week, I invite everyone to reflect on the Holy Father's words as well as on your own family's immigration story. Please also join me in prayer for all families, as together, we 'Share the Journey...' toward a better life."
(Source: USCCB press release)
WASHINGTON - On January 8th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador. TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized humanitarian migration program that permits individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home. The vast majority of TPS recipients in the U.S. are Salvadoran.
Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration (USCCB/COM), issued the following statement:
"The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador is heartbreaking. As detailed in our recent delegation trip report to the region, El Salvador is currently not in a position to adequately handle the return of the roughly 200,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients. Today's decision will fragment American families, leaving over 192,000 U.S. citizen children of Salvadoran TPS recipients with uncertain futures. Families will be needlessly separated because of this decision.
We believe that God has called us to care for the foreigner and the marginalized: 'So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt' (Deut. 10:19). Our nation must not turn its back on TPS recipients and their families; they too are children of God.
DHS has provided an 18-month period (through September 9, 2019) during which TPS recipients from El Salvador can legally stay in the United States and prepare for their departure. While we recognize and appreciate this extra time, it will not remedy the underlying protection and family unity concerns that remain for Salvadoran TPS recipients.
We renew our call to Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to find a legislative solution for long-term TPS recipients, and we stand ready to support such efforts. TPS recipients are an integral part of our communities, churches, and nation. Without action by Congress, however, recipients' lives will be upended and many families will be devastated. As with DACA, we strongly urge Congressional members and leadership to come together and address this issue as soon as possible.
To Salvadoran TPS recipients, we promise to continue to stand in solidarity with you and pray for you and your families, and all those who are displaced or forced to flee from their homes."
(Source: USCCB press release)
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com