COLORADO SPRINGS. More than 300 people attended a Mass for Immigrants on Dec. 1 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. The Mass was sponsored by the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry and celebrated by Capuchin Father John Toepfer, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Father Francisco Quezada, vicar for Hispanic Ministry and pastor of St. Mark Parish in Highlands Ranch, delivered the homily. The purpose of the Mass was to show peace, unity and solidarity with immigrants who might be experiencing more anxiety after the Nov. 8 presidential election, Father Quezada said.
“The Catholic Church is aware that the recent election campaign has generated consternation and fear among immigrants,” said Father Quezada.
People who arrived in the United States as children and who have remained in the country under the Obama administration’s 2012 Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provision are especially concerned about the future, said Eric Pavri, an attorney with Catholic Charities of Central Colorado’s Family Immigration Services.
“We don’t know what a new president will choose to do, but DACA is one of the huge questions out there right now,” he said. “Because DACA was a presidential order, not an act of law passed by Congress, it can be taken away at the stroke of a pen. It is fair to say that is causing a great deal of anxiety and fear among the young people who have it, because many of them have been able to work for the first time, go to college, buy houses and get mortgages and drivers licenses. That can now all be taken away in an instant.”
The Catholic Church does not favor any certain legislation but urges policies that will help to keep families together, Pavri said.
“There are many families that are what we call ‘mixed status’ — where perhaps a U.S. citizen is married to someone without legal immigration status, or the children were born here and are U.S. citizens but maybe their parents don’t have legal status,” Pavri said.
“We’ve seen it many times in the past — mothers taken away from their children, children taken away from their families, a family losing a father,” he said. Pavri encouraged anyone with questions about their legal status to contact the office of Family Immigration Services at 719-866-6515.
“We work hard to help as many families as possible use what options are available to them under the law,” he said.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also designated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12 as a day of prayer and solidarity with families of immigrants.
In a commentary written for Catholic News Service, Archbishop Jose Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said that, while concerns over border security are justified, undocumented workers should not be made scapegoats for larger problems in society.