As the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family, the Jesuit Provinces in Canada and the United States have called on Jesuit-run parishes across North America to discern how they can best respond to the plight of migrants and immigrants. The call to action was issued via a statement issued on December 30, 2016, by the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, which represents the nine Jesuit provinces in the U.S. and Canada as well Belize, Haiti, and Puerto Rico.
“Today many immigrant families live in vulnerable situations,” said the statement, comparing these situations to that of the Holy Family after Jesus’s birth and citing numerous comments from Pope Francis. Furthermore, it noted that Jesuit parishes were in many cases built specifically to care for immigrants and that there is a long history of these parishes serving as a home for the “immigrant and foreigner.”
Citing the work of provincial assistants for pastoral and spiritual ministries at each of the Jesuit provinces in the region, the statement offers a number of ways a parish can respond to the needs of vulnerable migrant populations: including immigrants and refugees in prayer, sponsoring refugee families, speaking out publicly in support of refugees and immigrants, calling for greater legal protections for those marginalized by immigration and refugee policies.
In closing, the statement reiterates the call to respond to the plight of marginalized migrants saying, “In this Christmas season where we continue to contemplate the mystery of the incarnation, let us never stop looking for the face of Christ, particularly in the faces of the poor and alienated.” The full statement can be found below.
This statement comes just a month after 27 Jesuit college and university presidents pledged their support for undocumented students on their campuses, in a statement coordinated by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
There are over sixty Catholic parishes administrated by the Jesuits throughout the nine provinces. Many Jesuit parishes are involved in Ignatian Solidarity Network in-person programs and advocacy campaigns including the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, Jesuit Parish Social Justice Gathering, Solidarity on Tap, Ignatian Family Advocacy Month, etc.