Cardinal McCarrick Sees Mexico as a Learning Experience

Says U.S. Delegates Are Looking for Ways to Aid Migrants

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico, OCT. 13, 2004 ( The U.S. delegation attending the International Eucharistic Congress has hopes of getting to know the Mexican Catholic culture better, for a very practical reason.

The U.S. delegate is hoping to be able to give better spiritual assistance to the thousands of Hispanic immigrants, particularly Mexicans, who cross the border daily in search of work.

In the opinion of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington D.C., the priests and bishops of the United States must get to know the spiritual needs of the Mexican community better which often forms a considerable part of many U.S. parishes and dioceses.

«The phenomenon of migration to the United States today takes on a new dimension and poses new challenges to the religious communities that work with illegal Mexicans or those with legal residence in the American nation,» Cardinal McCarrick explained in an interview with the newspaper El Universal.

The cardinal noted that the populations of Mexican immigrants have passed from California and Texas to practically the whole of the U.S. territory, posing extraordinary challenges and opportunities for the Catholic Church.

About 42 million Hispanics now live in the States, making them the largest minority.

«When I was a bishop in New Jersey there was not a large community, but now the group of Mexicans is increasing greatly,» the cardinal said.

Because of this accelerated immigration, the United States is now the third largest country in terms of number of Catholics, after Brazil and Mexico.

«We must be more aware of Mexican traditions and of the way of participating with them in ecclesial life; it would also be very important that we Americans engage in a dialogue with our brother bishops of Mexico to know firsthand what the Mexicans need,» Cardinal McCarrick said.

Both Churches acknowledge that they have matured in terms of pastoral collaboration, which has crystallized among other things in the cooperation of the dioceses on both sides of the border to address the crucial issue of migration.

Last summer more than 400 Mexicans, including women and children, died in their attempt to enter the United States.

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