September 22, 2020
By Sister Pat Lamb
Ministering to our immigrant sisters and brothers at the U.S.–Mexico border never called to me. Instead, my experience in this ministry began more than 30 years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was during the 1986 time of amnesty, and we set up a site at our church, with an attorney, to assist those seeking citizenship. Those eight years in Grand Rapids kept me in touch with many of the issues the migrant workers we served during the summer season were facing. Mass at our church was in Spanish, as were the summer liturgies with the migrants near their camps. We helped the workers settle for the short while they were there, and over the years it became like welcoming old friends or family back when they returned each summer.
It was not until my years in Holland, Michigan, that I began to meet undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America. I soon learned that they had incredible stories of troubled, often violent situations in their beloved home countries that left them with no other option but to pack up their families and depart on foot, usually in the night. So much of their journeys were through unwelcoming situations, with little food or water and no safe place to rest. Eventually, they would arrive at the U.S. border, at what they thought would be a place of hope and a promise of welcome.Read More