In observance of National Migration Week, the Archdiocese of Chicago held an opening Mass Sunday evening Jan. 6 at Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State St., Chicago.
The Rev. Ismael Sandoval, pastor of St. Benedict Parish and coordinator for the archdiocese’s Consejo Hispano (Hispanic Advisory Board), presided over the multicultural Mass that celebrates Chicago’s diverse Catholic community.
The Rev. Julio Lam of Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan was the homilist.
“Today’s refugees are like the Magi, outsiders who traveled far, searching for hope while bearing gifts for the newborn Jesus,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago. “With millions of people currently fleeing war, oppression, genocide and famine, may we remember today’s refugees, like the Holy Family, seek destinations of shelter, promise and a place to create better lives. In the spirit of the Magi, one of the greatest gifts we can offer to migrants is one of welcome.”
The Mass highlighted the ethnic diversity of the Archdiocese of Chicago through multilingual readings and music in languages such as English, Spanish, Polish, Swahili, Arabic and Tagalog. Immigrants representing more than 35 countries will participate in the Mass wearing their traditional attire.
A Congolese refugee gave testimony about his journey as a migrant and parishioners from St. Nicholas Church in Evanston shared their experience hosting a refugee family.
Pope Francis calls all Catholics to be a part of a culture of encounter, to form and build relationships with one another, including the stranger and refugee. This year’s theme, “Building Communities of Welcome,” emphasizes Catholics’ responsibility to welcome newcomers upon their arrivals and help to ease their transitions into new lives in the United States.
According to the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees,
in June, 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide fleeing violence, persecution and poverty. The U S. Conference of Catholic Bishops encourages Catholic communities to come together as a universal church to welcome immigrants and refugees in local parishes, dioceses and broader communities.
The USCCB launched National Migration Week nearly 50 years ago to stand in solidarity with migrants and to pray for and act on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking.
During the week, parishes throughout the archdiocese will participate in National Migration Week activities including Masses, prayers vigils and forums.
For information about National Migration Week activities, visit https://pvm.archchicago.org/human-dignity-solidarity/immigration-ministry/national-migration-week.