40-day vigil brings awareness to immigration reform

Diocese of Knoxville parishioners are interviewed by a WBIR-TV, Channel 10 photojournalist at Holy Ghost Church Aug. 23 following an immigration reform vigil. Photo by Bill Brewer

Diocese of Knoxville parishioners are interviewed by a WBIR-TV, Channel 10 photojournalist at Holy Ghost Church Aug. 23 following an immigration reform vigil.
Photo by Bill Brewer

Parishioners across the Diocese of Knoxville are taking part in a 40-day vigil on immigration reform.

The vigil, which is part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign, began Aug. 15 and ends Sept. 23. The diocese is asking parishes, organizations and individuals to dedicate one hour to bring awareness to the need for a comprehensive immigration reform plan.

“We chose to begin this vigil while our U.S. representatives are in their home offices while Congress is on break,” said Lourdes Garza, director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville.

Some 50 people gathered at Holy Ghost Church Aug. 23 for an immigration reform vigil that was led by Father John Orr and Ms. Garza.

During the Holy Ghost vigil, a series of readings from The Social Agenda, A Collection of Roman Catholic Magisterial Texts was read aloud in Spanish.

One such reading said, “In its history, America has experienced many immigrations, as waves of men and women came to its various

Diocese of Knoxville parishioners take part in a vigil for immigration reform Aug. 23 at Holy Ghost Church. Photo by Bill Brewer

Diocese of Knoxville parishioners take part in a vigil for immigration reform Aug. 23 at Holy Ghost Church.
Photo by Bill Brewer

regions in the hope of a better future. The phenomenon continues even today, especially with many people and families from Latin American countries who have moved to the northern parts of the continent, to the point where, in some cases, they constitute a substantial part of the population. They often bring with them a cultural and religious heritage which is rich in Christian elements.”

Diocese of Knoxville parishioners are interviewed by a WBIR-TV, Channel 10 photojournalist about the 40-day immigration reform vigil
Diocese of Knoxville parishioners are interviewed by a WBIR-TV, Channel 10 photojournalist about the 40-day immigration reform vigil

The reading continued, “The Church is well aware of the problems created by this situation and is committed to spare no effort in developing her own pastoral strategy among

these immigrant people, in order to help them settle in their new land and to foster a welcoming attitude among the local population, in the belief that a mutual openness will bring enrichment to all.”

As part of the 40-day vigil, Sept. 8 has been designated Immigration Sunday by U.S. bishops.

Activities that can be held in a one-hour vigil include special Masses; praying the rosary; participating in a holy hour or adoration; reviewing Church documents on social teaching and migration; sharing stories of migration with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow parishioners; sharing family history stories with family members; viewing films with migration themes.

Resources for the 40-day vigil are available at www.justiceforimmigrants.org under the Parish Kit tab. An attachment also is available that is a scriptural rosary from the USCCB that is available in English and Spanish at www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/Scriptural-Rosary-Span.pdf. The English version of the attachment can be accessed by changing Span to Eng in the url.

Any group or individuals who would like to join in the effort should email to Lourdes@dioknox.org your name, the date of your one-hour commitment and what type of action you will carry out.

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