Words of gratitude, words of concern
Council Comments l Barbara Harzman
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, for all the donations that have been given to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria to dispense through the St. Nicholas Charity on Wheels. Each month the St. Nicholas van travels throughout the Diocese of Peoria providing assistance and spiritual enrichment to more than 400 families in need. The Catholic Charities employees and volunteers are grateful for the beautiful generosity of the parishes in each vicariate for their contributions.
This outreach has benefited many families who are especially appreciative for this kind assistance. If your parish has not participated, please consider donating to this cause. Providing items used in the home for basic hygiene and personal care helps improve family health and well-being. Gift cards help with the purchase of medicine, gas to doctor visits, or various other special needs.
Besides contributing, a parish with families in need can contact Suzie Meismer at Catholic Charities, (309) 671-1550, to request a visit from the St. Nicholas van. Thank you for all the useful supplies. Know more is always needed and all items received are a blessing to a family.
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN RESPONSE?
Immigration has been a topic of great concern to Pope Francis, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, legislators, news media, citizens and immigrants.
Pope Francis encourages lawmakers to work for policies and laws that will address situations of inequality and injustice that threaten the dignity of all people. He has expressed concern for healing our world of rivalries and violence for want of dominance rather than ”to serve.” He advocates for “responsible leaders inspired by fraternal love directed toward those in most precarious conditions of life.”
As migrants gather at the southern border of the United States, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, says, “The border is a symptom not the problem.” He urges looking at the underlying issues of why people are coming to our border. Almost exclusive reasons are “violence, instability and economic problems caused by instability.” He notes how people struggle, encourages doing what’s possible to assist them, and dealing with the root causes in their own country.
Migrants leave their homes and travel great distances, often encountering dangerous situations in doing so. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that more than 1.2 million people have entered without using proper channels for immigration in fiscal year 2023. They seek freedom, and hope to find work to earn a living and be safe. Sadly there are horror stories of exploitation, human trafficking, drug smuggling and more causing problems and fear.
What is to be done? What is the Christian response to be? How do we help without encouraging illegal activity? While just and comprehensive immigration reform is definitely needed, Catholic teaching recognizes the right of sovereign states to maintain their borders. As Christians we are to love God and love our neighbor. We should see God in our neighbor, in the people amassed at the border and be there to help where possible with their basic needs.
In the view of Pope Francis, in order to heal the world, countries should adopt policies and laws addressing inequality and injustice, plus encourage responsible citizens and capable leaders to “pursue goals to benefit all.”
“Do to others as you would have them do to you,” he says.