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Prayer: Just and Humane Immigration Reform

The call to solidarity with immigrants, migrants, refugees, and all diverse peoples in our midst is the fruit of conversion and communion in Christ. It is well summarized by Pope John Paul II in his Message for World Migration Day 2000: “The Church hears the suffering cry of all who are uprooted from their own land, of families forcefully separated, of those who, in the rapid changes of our day, are unable to find a stable home anywhere. She senses the anguish of those without rights, without any security, at the mercy of every kind of exploitation, and she supports them in their unhappiness.” 

Call to Prayer:

Leader:  
    God of movement, God of stillness …

All:             Calm our hearts so we may recognize your presence with us now. (Pause)

Leader:     Help us to realize that, “We are together on the journey.” Estamos juntos en el camino.

All:            We are together on the journey, Estamos juntos en el camino.  (CRS Prayer, adapted)

Song:      “A Place at the Table” (Lori True); “What Have We Done” (Lori True); “We Are Many Parts”(Marty Haugen), “Pan de Vida” (Bob Hurd) or any appropriate song

First Reading: We gather to remember the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, who responded to the gospel’s call to welcome the stranger by ministering to immigrants and serving the most vulnerable of God’s people. We join in solidarity with the Institute Leadership Conference, and all those who call upon the United States government for a fair and compassionate immigration policy and we urge lawmakers to address the root cause of migration and poverty. (Website: Sisters of Mercy, 2006)

Second Reading: Leviticus 19:23-24

    
When aliens (those who are undocumented) settle with you in your land, you shall not oppress them. They shall be treated as native born among you, and you shall love them as people like yourselves, because you were aliens yourselves in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Website: Sisters of Mercy, 2006)

Third Reading: A Place at the Table: A Pastoral Reflection of the U.S. Catholic Bishops (2002)

Catholic teaching affirms that all persons, even those on the margins of society have basic human rights: the right to life and those things that are necessary to the proper development of life, including faith and family, work and education, housing and health care… Our Church’s commitment to find a place at the table for all God’s children is expressed in every part of our country and in the poorest places on earth.
 (Website: Sisters of Mercy, 2006)

Fourth Reading: Public Statement on Immigration (Fourth Institute Chapter of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, 2005)

As an Institute, we recognize an urgent duty and challenge to stand in solidarity with immigrants seeking fullness of life. We say to you immigrants who are in our midst: We welcome you to our land; as a people we are enriched by your presence. We will use our influence to advocate that services be offered to you at ministries sponsored by or directed by the Sisters of Mercy. (Website: Sisters of Mercy, 2006)

Time for Quiet Reflection

Intercessions:

That all those who immigrate to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their
families, now and into the future, may find in this country a place where they may live in peace,
safety and dignity…

That United States citizens, mindful of the God-given blessings of life and freedom that this country
affords its citizens, may have the willingness to share these same blessings with those who have
immigrated from other countries…

That all who are immigrants in countries throughout the world, whether by choice or as a result of
violence or disaster, may find a welcome extended by those into whose communities they come to
live…

That immigrant workers be treated justly by employers, supervisors, fellow workers and all who are in a
position of advantage over these workers… (Prepared by St. Bridget Church, Postville Iowa)

For the families and children of migrant workers, that they may be reunited

For employers and corporations, that they may choose the dignity and worth of each human person over profit and power

For our Mercy Community, that we may continue to serve those without homes and resources, and that we speak out for just immigration reform (Website: Sisters of Mercy, 2006)

Spoken Aloud Together:


“We choose to stand with and assist those who are forced to move from their homelands and seek economic and physical survival elsewhere. Our commitment to a merciful way of life demands that we meet, by direct service and systemic change, the needs of those who suffer…
We seek to educate ourselves and others to the underlying causes of migration. We will continue to welcome and assist those who seek hope, home, and labor in this country. We are in this country because Mercy Sisters have accompanied immigrant people since 1843. Today we can do no less. The Gospel and the directives of our religious congregation call us to help. We welcome the invitation to be true to the call.” (Letter from the Institute Leadership Team to the New York Times)

Amen.

This prayer was written by Sister Diane G., a Mercy justice coordinator.