“Be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1,22). Love in action is a fundamental mark of a genuine faith in Jesus. God’s Word questions how a person who “sees his brother or sister in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in that person? Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18).
Two examples of this come clearly to mind, among many others here at the Shrine.
Recently, a number of our community members participated in the March for Life in Washington, DC, seeking an end to the tragedy of abortion. In part, due to their concerted efforts over the past 40 years plus, the numbers of abortions in the US reached an all-time low last year.
Many of the community of the Shrine have worked untiringly for the last four months to provide transitional housing and support for a refugee family fleeing the experience of traumatic violence. Frequently people ask where we are in the process and when we might be able to welcome this family.
Unfortunately, Church World Services – the refugee resettlement group with whom we had been working – informed us that the new US administration had suspended all funding for this program. The executive orders of President Trump issued this past weekend confirmed the suspension of the program. For the present we will continue to use the apartment we had prepared for transitional housing and look forward to the day when we can, finally, offer hospitality to a refugee family fleeing violence. For “when I was a stranger, you welcomed me” said Jesus (Matthew 25:35). We look forward to welcoming Jesus once again into our midst.
We share deeply the sentiments expressed by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark that the recent executive actions “are the opposite of what it means to be an American. Closing borders and building walls are not rational acts.” Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago describes these actions as “contrary to both Catholic and American values. Have we not repeated the disastrous decisions of those in the past who turned away other people fleeing violence, leaving certain ethnicities and religions marginalized and excluded?” (See below for link to full statements.)
Dear sisters and brothers, let us continue to be women and men of faith and action, willing to love and sacrifice for the good of others, especially those most in need and abandoned – surely the mission of Jesus, now confided to us. Thank you for your generous “yes” to this call!
Father Dennis Berry, S.T.
Director, Shrine of St. Joseph
For the complete statements: Cardinal Tobin: http://www.rcan.org/statement-cardi…’s-executive-actions-immigration Cardinal Cupich: https://www.archchicago.org/stateme…