“The joys and the hopes, the sorrow and the anxieties of the [people] of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the sorrow and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”
These brief words from the Second Vatican Council shape our ministry at St. Pius V. They especially come to mind when we see the needs of so many immigrants and attempt to assist them. Here are highlights of some efforts made at St. Pius V these past months to address the joys, hopes, sorrows and anxieties of the immigrants we serve and for whom we advocate.
March for Dignity, Respect, and Justice: October 12
More than 100 St. Pius V Parishioners participated in this march organized by churches, labor and immigration rights groups in Chicago as part of a nation-wide week of action to convince Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and end deportations that divide families.
Two million too many
Fr. Brendan Curran, OP, Fr. Chuck Dahm, OP, and members of St. Pius V joined 140 community, faith, and civic leaders who stood in solidarity with immigrant families by blocking access to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office building on Congress Parkway on Nov. 6. The non-violent action drew attention to the 2 million families torn apart by cruel and senseless deportations of parents in the last five years, leaving their citizen children without one or both parents. U.S. bishops have repeatedly denounced this cruel and unjust attack on immigrant families.
Father Brendan Curran, OP, speaks to the media outside ICE headquarters.
License for immigrants
Illinois is poised to issue temporary visitors licenses in order to make our roads safer and allow undocumented immigrants to drive legally. Elena Valdez, our parishioner and a domestic violence survivor, learned to drive in order to free herself from her abusive husband, avoid the gang activity on her block by driving her children to school, and get to her job as a home health care worker for disabled children and home-bound elderly. This legislation is one more way that Elena can keep herself and her family safe. Governor Pat Quinn praised St. Pius V for our work in passing the law creating the licenses. Hundreds attended two workshops we hosted for those seeking licenses, one organized by the Illinois Secretary of State and State Rep. Edward Acevedo. The day applications began, more than 4,000 people made appointments in a few hours, causing the state to halt appointments until more sites and personnel could be mustered. Some immigrant advocates believe the law will also help decrease deportations that separate families, since driving without a license often leads to immigration officials deporting drivers.
Want to help?
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has ruled out any House action on immigration this year. He said the House prefers to address reform piecemeal, rather than in a comprehensive way. This directly contradicts the approach of the U.S. Bishops Conference. For more information visit the U.S. Bishops Justice for Immigrants website. Please phone, email, or write your U.S. representatives to urge them to support comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a pathway to citizenship and keep families together. (202) 224-3121.