“O LORD, hear my prayer,
And let my cry come to you.”

Today’s responsorial psalm resonates with the prayer I find myself repeating time and time again. Padre Amado, ampárame. In English, this means “Beloved Father, shelter me.” As a Dreamer from El Salvador and Central American migrant, I am reminded every week that our current immigration system is neither kind nor welcoming to people of color. Whether migrants, refugees, or asylum seekers, our communities are systematically targeted, detained, and set for deportation in huge numbers. In this process, our God-given humanities are compromised to justify our marginalization from American society.

In this time of anguish, I can only turn to my Creator who is bigger and greater than any system of oppression. He will shelter and comfort me at all times. My task, however, is never forget Him in my moments of insecurity and affliction. My challenge, indeed, is to remember that His Love for me is greater than any man-made injustice that seeks to marginalize me on account of my immigration status and country of origin. So, I exclaim once again Padre Amado, amapárame.

“He has regarded the prayer of the destitute and not despised their prayer” continues the psalm. In my heart, I know these prayers of mine are being kindly heard by my Beloved Father. For the time being, I am at ease; the Holy Spirit is at work.

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published as part of the Ignatian Solidarity Network Rise Up: A Lenten Call to Solidarity series.

Jessica F. Chilin-Hernández

Jessica F. Chilin-Hernández is a staff member of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, where she engages questions of workers’ rights and the future of the labor movement. Originally from El Salvador, Jess is a 2012 DREAMer graduate from the College of William & Mary. At Georgetown, she advises Worker Justice DC – an alternative break program designed for students to explore the challenges facing workers in the District of Columbia and nationwide. Jess also serves as an advocate and academic resource for undocumented students at the University and is a spirited mentor to the LatinX community at large. As person of faith, Jess is committed to the increase in shared solidarity across individuals and communities.

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