Jesuit university presidents from five institutions have joined twenty three other Catholic college and university colleagues who committed to fasting for comprehensive immigration reform in solidarity with the national Fast for Families movement on Ash Wednesday. Fr. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. (Loyola University Chicago), Dr. Antoine Garibaldi (University of Detroit Mercy), Dr. Thayne McCulloh (Gonzaga University), Fr. Steve Privett, S.J. (University of San Francisco) and Fr. Kevin Wildes, S.J. (Loyola University New Orleans) will participate in the fast, which was coordinated by Faith in Public Life.
The full text of the letter signed by the Catholic college and university presidents can be viewed at the Faith in Public Life website.
“Fast for Families” reignited the immigration debate last November when Fast for Families leader Yoon and others including Eliseo Medina, Cristian Avila, and Rudy Lopez – abstained from all food, except for water – for 22 days on the National Mall. Joined by faith, labor and immigrant rights leaders and thousands across the country who fasted in solidarity, the movement drew national attention, including the support of President Obama, members of Congress – many of whom fasted – and national civil rights leaders.
Jesuit universities have been deeply engaged in the call for comprehensive immigration reform. In February, over 150 students from nine Catholic universities met at Loyola Chicago University for a Student Summit on Immigration Reform. In 2013, Loyola University Chicago became the first university in the country to publicly accept undocumented medical students and was recently recognized for this effort by Faith in Public Life. Throughout 2013 Jesuit university leaders were vocal supporters of comprehensive immigration reform via op-ed letters and public sign-on statements. Students continue to be advocates for immigration reform as well, including Regis University students and staff who fasted this past December in support of an undocumented peer.