Protecting and nurturing children has always been one of the core missions of Catholic Charities. Sadly, and tragically during the past two weeks, the plight of children who have been separated from their parents has been a blight on our U.S. legacy of welcoming and integrating those who arrive on our shores. It violates our Catholic belief in the importance of the unity of the family for both the preservation of human dignity and the common good of society. It also undermines our nation’s duty to strengthen and preserve family values. Despite reports that President Trump might sign an order ending his administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border, we should not rest easy until any positive steps are fully implemented, monitored and that additional measures are undertaken to remedy the damages caused.
I am going tonight with a number of people from Catholic Charities, including a member of our Board of Trustees and a few fellow priests from the New York Archdiocese to the Texas border to visit our fellow Catholic Charities agency in Texas that is doing so much critical work there. Together we will bring the concern and pastoral ministry of the church to some of those children who were detained and separated from their parents.
I want to take a particular moment to express solidarity with the staff of Catholic Charities and our agencies, who for years have been working with immigrants and refugees. Our staff is facing incredible adversity as they struggle to mitigate the pain and anxiety experienced by those they serve. I recently visited some of them and I looked in their eyes and saw the pain on their faces, their concern about the people whom they are working with every day who now feel so threatened. Catholic Charities each year helps thousands of unaccompanied children in multiple ways to reunite with their families. We see firsthand the deep suffering and long-term trauma felt by parents and young children who are separated from each other.
We also work with our elected officials to create a fairer and more compassionate policy. We will continue to do so. It is important for the sake of the children we serve, for their parents and quite frankly for our nation as a whole. Let’s continue to pray, continue to work to make sure our nation lives up to its legacy as a country that is open to the vibrancy of newcomers.
I ask for your concern as we go to express and bring the love of Jesus to our sisters and brothers who are struggling. I want to thank all of you for what you do in so many different ways in this incredibly difficult time.