Milagros Ramos, Office of Cultural Diversity
For over 21 years the diocese has ministered to the migrants in Orleans, Genesee and Niagara Counties. Hispanic Migrant Ministry provides such services as visiting of the migrant camps, providing Bible studies, liturgies, family visits, sacramental preparation for children and adults. Another service provided is preparing young ladies for their Quinceañera, which is a celebration of thanksgiving of 15 years of life, a passage from childhood to adolescence. This department is also committed to meeting the needs of the migrants who have recently arrived and settled in our diocese.
We thank Sister Judith Justinger who had been providing this service in our diocese, and we welcome the new director for Hispanic Migrant Ministry, Doris Valentin. Valentin was the interim director of the Northeast Hispanic Pastoral Center and has been teaching for its Pastoral Institute for many years. We are very excited to have Valentin here, and she is very excited with this new opportunity of serving the migrant community in our diocese.
This past December, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 33 Hispanic/Latino bishops of the United States including Archbishops José H. Gómez and Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS., wrote a letter to all immigrant sisters and brothers. The bishops wanted the immigrants to know that they were not alone or forgotten. They said, “We recognize that every human being, authorized or not, is an image of God and therefore possesses infinite value and dignity.”
The bishops thanked them for all the hard work, contributions to our society and the sacrifices that they make for their families. They recognize the situations that they have encountered of dreams shattered and of families being separated, and reassured them that although at times it seems that they have been neglected, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is working toward change in the immigration laws asking “for legislation that respects family unity and provides an orderly and reasonable process for unauthorized persons to attain citizenship.” The new law should include a program for worker visas that respects the immigrants’ human rights, provides for their basic needs and ensures that they enter our country and work in a safe and orderly manner.
They also told them, “We are committed to do all that we can to bring about a change in the immigration law, so that you can enter and remain here legally and not feel compelled to undertake a dangerous journey in order to support and provide for your families.”
The full letter from the bishops can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website, www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
For more information on Hispanic Migrant Ministry contact Valentin at email@example.com or call (585) 589-4243.
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