Denver Catholic

DC_July 13, 2019

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2 JULY 13-26, 2019 | DENVER CATHOLIC Archbishop's Page Archbishop's Column Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila PHOTO OF THE WEEK ARCHBISHOP'S SCHEDULE JULY 14: Mass, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver (10:30 a.m.) JULY 20: 100th Anniversary Mass, St. Francis, Weldona (11 a.m.) @ArchbishopDen Jun. 28 #Sanctifi cationOfPriests Pray for priests throughout the world that they may have the heart of Christ and live the call to holiness so that they may become saints in leading people to #JesusChrist! +sja Our God-given dignity should shape our laws R ecent news stories present us with immigrants and refu- gees whose God-given dignity is being disregarded or subject to a system of laws that fails to adequately take that dignity into account. I'm sure that many of you were deeply saddened as I was to see the images of Oscar Martinez and his almost two-year-old daughter, Angie Valeria, drowned in the waters of the Rio Grande. And these Salvadoran immigrants are just two of the thou- sands who are often fl eeing violence, crime, failed governments and crush- ing poverty in their homelands. As Catholics, we should urge our elected leaders to treat these people in ways that respect their God-given dignity. When he describes the judge- ment of the nations, Jesus identifi es himself with strangers like these who are in need. "I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me" (Mt 25:35-36). The question that each of us as believers must face is, "How do I welcome the stranger in need that I encounter?" And since the immigra- tion issue is also a legal issue, "How am I urging my political representa- tives to pass reforms that address the immigration crisis while respecting each person's dignity and the legiti- mate needs of our country to control its borders?" Most of us come from immigrant families. Our country has long ben- efi ted from the gifts and talents of immigrants and treating them with dignity and respect is a part of our faith. That our country's laws for immigration and asylum haven't changed in decades clearly shows how our political leaders in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, have dras- tically failed to fulfi ll their respon- sibilities. This failure in itself shows a lack of respect for the immigrants and refugees who come to us for help but also for the American citizens who bear the burden of their inaction. Without an appropriate response to this crisis, the safety of our fellow cit- izens in border regions and those who patrol our border is endangered. We cannot be indi˜ erent to the su˜ ering of our neighbors and fellow citizens. Christ calls us to be like the Good Samaritan who stopped and cared for the Jewish man who was beaten by robbers and left for dead. In an October 2016 general audience, Pope Francis o˜ ered us this guidance on responding to the plight of immi- grants. "Dear brothers and sisters, do not fall into the trap of closing in on ourselves, indi˜ erent to the needs of brothers and worried only about our own interests." "And to clothe the naked," the Pope asked, "what is it but to restore dignity to those who have lost it? It is precisely to the extent that we open ourselves to others that life becomes fruitful, society regains peace and people recover their full dignity." Our country's laws for legal immigration must be overhauled in a comprehensive manner. Politicians on both sides of the aisle must put aside the blinders of their ideologies and politics, as well as the practice of adding things to bills that have nothing to do with the legislation. We have failed for well over 25 years to advance immigration laws that respect the God-given dignity of the human being. The current system is so complex and time-consuming that it encourages those faced with urgent threats to their safety or wellbeing to ignore it, sometimes with tragic consequences. Our elected represen- tatives need to hear from us that the dignity of each person who comes to us must be respected because God gave us our dignity and we cannot take it away. Colorado was witness to the heroic work of St. Frances Cabrini, who ded- icated her life to helping immigrants in the United States, establishing schools, orphanages and hospitals to care for them in keeping with their God-given dignity. May she intercede for us and our elected o¢ cials as we try to respond to those strangers in need who have fl ed their homes. Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrated a dedication Mass June 26 for the new church of St. Mark's Parish in Westminster. St. Mark's pastor Father Ken Koehler was honored during the ceremony. PHOTO BY BRANDON YOUNG PHOTO BY JOHN MOORE | GETTY IMAGES Immigrants wait to be searched and then bussed to U.S. Border Patrol facil- ity in McAl- len after crossing the border from Mexico.

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