Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Justice for Immigrants

Immigration Prayer Card

USCCB Migration and Refugee Services

January 9, 2017 Presentation On Immigration
Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Our Lady of the Visitation Church, St. Leo the Great Church

Justice Prayer for Immigrants

Archbishop Schnurr on Immigration Reform August 2013

U.S. Catholic Bishops and Immigration Educational Website

Immigration Policy Center: Answers to the Toughest Immigration Questions

The SAFE Act is an interior enforcement bill that would grant extensive immigration enforcement powers to states and localities and eradicate effective federal government oversight.  The USCCB strongly opposes the SAFE Act, as it would place faith-based charities and Good Samaritans at risk of criminal prosecution.  It would also infringe upon a religious organization's right to minister to its flock, an infringement on religious freedom.  

Justice for Immigrants Parish Education and Organizing Manual

Archdiocese Response to Immigration Reform Framework


Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

The following letter was released by the Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, on July 28, 2014.

In this handout photo courtesy of the office of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, unaccompanied migrant children are shown at a Department of Health and Human Services facility in south Texas. . Many undocumented minors coming across the U.S. border claim they are escaping gang violence in their home countries. (CNS photo/ handout, Reuters) (June 16, 2014) See UNACCOMPANIED June 16, 2014.

In this handout photo courtesy of the office of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, unaccompanied migrant children are shown at a Department of Health and Human Services facility in south Texas. . Many undocumented minors coming across the U.S. border claim they are escaping gang violence in their home countries. (CNS photo/ handout, Reuters)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

A tragic humanitarian crisis has emerged on our own nation’s border.  By the end of September, 90,000 unaccompanied children are expected to have migrated from Central America to seek safety here.  While some may claim that the children are coming to receive immigration benefits, the U.S. Catholic Church, among many others, are asserting that the majority of children are fleeing persecution from organized crime networks in their countries.    Violence and coercion, including extortion, kidnapping, threats, and coercive and forcible recruitment of children into criminal activity, are perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations and gangs.  As the Body of Christ made of many members, our Church knows this well from those who have long served the poor and vulnerable in Central America, from the dioceses and ministries responding to the influx on our nation’s border, and from those of us in the Archdiocese who personally know of innocent boys and girls victimized, sold into sex trafficking, and brutally killed.  Under such circumstances, children and their parents face a stark choice: Stay and become a likely victim of violence or make a dangerous journey of thousands of miles to a place of possible safety.  This is why the Church is declaring this a humanitarian crisis, requiring a response similar to that which we have for refugees rather than that for regular immigrants.

These tens of thousands of unaccompanied children represent a humanitarian crisis measuring our nation’s moral character.  Communities across the United States are stepping forward to say that they can temporarily house these children while they are placed with family members here, given an opportunity to process their claims, or returned to their countries of origin.  As far as we are aware, there have been no clear commitments yet that any large groups of children are arriving to our area.  However, it is a possibility, and the Catholic community must stand ready to assist.  Here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, charitable agencies, including Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, have expressed a commitment to help.

So today, I encourage us to prepare our hearts should we be called to serve the Lord in this way.  I am asking all in our faith community for compassion for these children, prayers for their well-being, and a willingness to respond if needed.

Despite all of the messy, political aspects of this situation, our response as Christians is fairly straight-forward.  While the children are here, even if temporarily, we must care for and protect them.  Our Holy Father Francis and the U.S. bishops have strongly reinforced this, and the Gospel’s mandate to love the most poor and vulnerable tells us that this is a faithful response, not a political one.  The long-term solution to this crisis will require a repaired immigration system, more robust development efforts in the nations South of our border, and a bolder commitment to our relationship with them.  Yet, for now, the more urgent matter is opening our hearts to homeless children.

Catholic Charities USA is already responding to the humanitarian needs of these children on the border.  Should any of these children be temporarily placed within the Archdiocese, any volunteer opportunities to support these children materially, emotionally, and spiritually while their legal proceedings or relocation is in process will need to be coordinated with the local agencies involved.  We will make announcements at that time.  Please be assured that U.S. and human service agencies handling these children are required to give them a well-child exam, mental health exam, tuberculosis screening, and all needed childhood vaccinations to protect against communicable diseases.

For your information, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has prepared a thorough“Unaccompanied Migrant Children Resource Kit.”  In relation to this crisis, it offers a message from Pope Francis, wisdom from Catholic Social Teaching, an in-depth backgrounder on the situation itself, advice on how to support these children, and more.  I am encouraging our parishes to utilize these resources to help educate parishioners about why Catholics are so involved in this critical issue.

I am grateful to everyone who, through prayer, solidarity and action, chooses to be Christ to any of these children during one of their loneliest hours.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

Pope Francis and U.S. Catholic Bishops Urge Us to Help Protect Vulnerable Immigrant Children and Mothers

Say Policy-Makers Must Warn of Dangers of Emigration, Promote Development in Countries of Origin



CNS/pool via Reuters



Instead of going to school, playing with friends,

and enjoying time with family, tens of thousands of children from Central America flee their homes embarking on a dangerous trek north to the United States.  Extreme violence and the lack of opportunity at home, and the desire to reunite with parents and other family members drive these kids to make the perilous journey without a parent or guardian. The number of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border has alarmingly increased, doubling every year since 2011. This year alone, as many as 90,000 children could arrive, creating a humanitarian crisis in need of our attention.  At the same time, nearly 40,000 young mothers with children have also entered the U.S. and are being placed in detention centers.  Learn more here. 


Earlier this week, at a colloquium in Mexico City, comments were read from Pope Francis. 


This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.  These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey, and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.


To learn more:

Statement on the Occasion of U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Mass on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr

Archbishop of Cincinnati

March 27, 2014

On Tuesday, April 1, all the member bishops of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration will journey to the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona to celebrate a very special Mass. The prayerful event will be on behalf of the nearly 6,000 migrants who have died in the U.S. desert since 1998, as they desperately risked their lives to support themselves and their families. The bishops will highlight the human suffering caused by our broken immigration system, which provides far too few paths for legal migration and drives so many to such dangerous journeys of survival. The trip follows the example of Pope Francis, who, in his first excursion outside of Rome last year, traveled to the Italian island of Lampedusa to remember African migrants who died attempting to reach Europe across the Mediterranean Sea. On this occasion, I wish to join publicly my prayers with my brother bishops on the border.

For years now, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has advocated for the restoration of law, order and respect for human dignity to our immigration system. Our current policies fail both to regulate migrant flows for the good of our nation and to honor the God-given rights of those seeking a better life here. The harrowing evidence for this is in the estimated 12 million people living in the shadows without documentation, and the thousands of migrants dying on our nation's doorstep because there is no legal way for them to otherwise get here. For the Archdiocese locally, the repercussions are seen in the breakup of too many good, immigrant families through deportations in our parishes, schools and agencies.

On the verge of this April 1st Mass, we find ourselves dealing with an Administration that says it stands with migrant families yet has deported more immigrants than any administration in U.S. history. And our Congress is sending the message that it is better to cast a "yea" vote for our current status quo of chaos and disorder, rather than to forge a compromise on any set of principals about how our nation's immigration system should even function. In the end, the victims of such complacency are the thousands of men, women and children for whose departed souls we pray. But, even more broadly, all Americans are negatively impacted when their communities and local economies are forced to manage the fallout from a national immigration system still in disrepair.

I urge all people of faith and good will to remember our migrant brothers and sisters on the occasion of this Mass. I encourage us not to give up hope that we can help our national leaders restore law and order and courageously welcome those whom we have called strangers as our nation's own.


St. Leo The Great Parish

Rev. James R. Schutte, Pastor
2573 St. Leo Place
Cincinnati, OH 45225
513-921-1044 ext. 21


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