Diocese of Knoxville parishioners are planning additional activities to encourage members of Congress to adopt immigration reform legislation that the Senate passed in June.
Lourdes Garza, director of the diocese’s Office of Hispanic Ministry, said more activities are planned once Congress returns from its summer break.
In May, parishioners held seven vigils across the diocese to pray for immigration reform, including a vigil May 21 led by Bishop Richard F. Stika at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“We had the vigils to pray for them to pass the bill, and they did pass the bill on June 28 by a 68-32 vote.,” Ms. Garza said. “It was a historical vote based on how quickly it passed.”
Immigration reform is one of several issues the Hispanic community is taking an active role in. Others include a new law-enforcement policy being implemented in Knox County by the Sheriff’s Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Secured Communities program in place in other parts of the country.
Archbishop José H. Gomez, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ migration committee, is marshaling Catholic support for immigration reform
“The Senate bill is not everything we wanted, but as Archbishop Gomez said, ‘this is a good start,’” Ms. Garza said.