Bishop Urges: Find Christ in Immigrants

Says American Catholics Cannot Remain Passive

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GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, SEPT. 1, 2009 ( The president of the Pastoral Committee for Human Mobility in Guatemala is stating that a community cannot call itself Christian if it does not welcome immigrants.

Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri of San Marcos affirmed this in a message titled «Migration and the Faith,» published on the occasion of the National Day of the Immigrant, to be celebrated on Sunday.

In the message, the prelate reminded the faithful that for years the bishops’ commission for the Pastoral Care of Human Mobility has fostered this celebration to awaken the consciences of Christians to the responsibility of living «with consistency the condition of disciples of the Lord, on discovering him present in immigrants and welcoming them with love.»
He continued: «No Christian community will be able to consider itself as such if it does not welcome immigrant brothers and sisters with solicitude and affection.

«At the base of this attitude is contemplation of the Lord, thanks to the faith that allows us to discover him in them.»
However, Bishop Ramazzini said, it is difficult, pastorally speaking, «to have immigrants welcomed, loved and served in Christian communities.»

He noted that «thousands of Christians, Catholics and non-Catholics,» are unaware or indifferent to «the sufferings, difficulties, anguishes, dreams and hopes of immigrants.»

Immigration reform
The message affirmed that now, given the promise of immigration reform made by U.S. President Barack Obama, «the Catholic Church of the American continent cannot and must not remain in a passive attitude.»

It continued, «On the contrary, the commitment to influence immigration reform with a human face becomes an imperative point of reference, to measure the firmness and solidity of our Christian faith.»
The bishop asserted that the present world economic crisis «cannot be used as a pretext to impede a just, human and integral immigration reform.»
Instead, he stated it «is right to thank God for the apostolic commitment of so many immigrants who, upon arriving at their place of destiny, especially in the United States and Canada, have become evangelizers who share their faith experience in those parishes and ecclesial communities that allow them.»


The prelate also highlighted the declaration of the bishops who took part in last June’s meeting on the world economic crisis and immigration in the city of Tecun Uman, in his diocese.

Bishop Ramazzini invited all Christians in Guatemala to celebrate the immigrant’s day «by uniting ourselves in a special way to the relatives of immigrants who feel the suffering of the remoteness of their loved ones.»
He added that «in many parish and diocesan communities, this celebration is not given the importance it deserves,» and expressed the hope that «in this year 2009 the situation may change drastically.»
Finally, the prelate expressed the desire that «all Guatemalan men and women would live the evangelical charity of the Good Samaritan.»
He concluded, «May Mary Most Holy, who went on pilgrimage with Joseph and the Child Jesus to Egypt, accompany all men and women immigrants in these difficult moments.»

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