WASHINGTON, DC – A Catholic prayer service for “Dreamers,” young men and women brought to the United States as children without documentation, was held outside the U.S. Capitol earlier this week. The 45-minute prayer serviced aimed to unite Catholics in a nonpartisan, prayerful setting to emphasize the urgency of passing bipartisan legislation for Dreamers took place as Congressional members continue to debate their options amid an impending government funding deadline.
Members of the Catholic community led approximately attendees in a Scripture readings, song, prayers of petition and an immigrant-rosary. Dreamers, priests, religious women and other faith organization workers attended the service.
“We need Congress to seize the moment and do the right thing by Dreamers who are our neighbors, our students, our parishioners, and friends.” said Daughter of Charity Sister Mary Ellen Lacy, as she welcomed the crowd of approximately one hundred attendees. Lacey continued, “It’s time, it’s long past time, for Congress to protect our communities and pass the Dream Act [of 2017] now.”
Participating organizations included the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Daughters of Charity, Franciscan Action Network, Ignatian Solidarity Network, Leader Conference of Women Religious, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, National Advocacy Center Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Pax Christi USA, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and the Society of the Sacred Heart.
Yesterday’s call to prayer by Catholic organizations came as at least one Catholic leader and a Catholic in Congress made their own statements about the situation of Dreamers this week.
Crux reported that during a talk at Georgetown University on Monday, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, urged his fellow U.S. Catholic bishops to hold out for a clean DACA bill, rather than settle for compromise legislation that includes funding for a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In addition, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi initiated a filibuster in order to share the stories of Dreamers, intermingling quotations from Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, and suggesting that House members join in the praying of the Rosary together for Dreamers.
According to the Los Angeles Times, prior to heading to the House Floor, Pelosi sent out a statement saying she wanted a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan to bring legislation for Dreamers to the House floor in exchange for her support of a massive bipartisan spending package being currently being considered in Congress.