Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cardinal, bishops to celebrate Mass at border fence

Nogales International
March 21, 2014

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston will celebrate Mass at the border fence in Nogales on April 1 as part of a three-day visit to the border by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration and several bishops from border dioceses.

The delegation will pray at the fence on West International Street on behalf of the close to 6,000 migrants who have died in the U.S. desert since 1998, said the Diocese of Tucson, which is hosting the event.

The Mass begins at 9 a.m. on West International Street and will be followed by a news conference at 10:30 a.m.

The purpose of the trip is to highlight the human suffering caused by a broken immigration system, the diocese said in a news release.

“What we fail to remember in this debate is the human aspect of immigration – that immigration is primarily about human beings, not economic or social issues,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration. “Those who have died – and those deported each day – have the same value and innate God-given dignity as all persons, yet we ignore their suffering and their deaths.”

The trip follows the example of Pope Francis, who, in his first trip outside of Rome, traveled to the Italian island of Lampedusa to remember African migrants who died attempting to reach Europe.

“The U.S.-Mexico border is our Lampedusa,” Elizondo said. “Migrants in this hemisphere try to reach it, but often die in the attempt.”

The Migration Committee and bishops will participate in a number of events while in Southern Arizona, such as touring the border with the Border Patrol; visiting the comedor and shelter operated by the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora to assist migrants; and walking symbolically in a desert area to experience the conditions endured by immigrants crossing the desert.

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