Happy Columbus Day Weekend. This month of October is also Respect Life Month. We are called all year long, but especially in this month of October, to pray and work for respect for life from the moment of conception to natural death. Life is ALWAYS a blessing! Life is to be respected, cherished, protected and celebrated. As Christians we give thanks for life!
Last Sunday, along with Bishop Joe Vásquez and several of our parishioners, I was able to participate in an event that fostered respect for life. That was the Inter-Faith Conference on comprehensive immigration reform held at St Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on the corner of 15th and Nueces Streets. The speakers were very good, informative and moving. We heard stories of families being separated, of constant fear, of injustice perpetrated by unscrupulous employers who use workers’ immigration problems to exploit the workers, and these stories could not leave you unmoved. But we also heard words of hope and encouragement, specifically from Jeffery Patterson from the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, and from Bill Bearadall, an attorney for the Equal Justice Center. Reform of our broken immigration system is possible. It is not perfect reform, it does not solve all the problems, but it is possible to improve the system. But for that to happen ALL OF US have to get involved.
If you are a U.S. citizen you are the beneficiary of many rights. And with these rights comes responsibilities. I urge you to get informed and get involved. An EASY way to do this is to check out the U.S. Catholic Bishop’s website on immigration: www.justiceforimmigrants.org. Click on the “Take Action” button. You can then quickly send an e-postcard to your Representatives and Senators supporting the Bishops’ stand on immigration.
Better yet, CALL your Representative. The Senate has passed an immigration reform bill, so the action now is in the House of Representatives. All you have to do is dial the number, tell the person that answers that you are a constituent (he or she will want to know where you live, your Zip code), and then tell them what that, “I ask that this year you support immigration reform legislation that keeps immigrant families together, adopts smart and humane enforcement policies, and ensures that immigrants without legal status register with the government and begin a path towards citizenship. Our families and communities cannot wait!” (quoted from the Bishops’ website).
You can find who your US Representative is and his or her phone number simply by going to http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ and entering you Zip code. It is simple, takes only a few minutes to do this, and it is REALLY IMPORTANT. We have the power to make changes for the better. If we fail to use it, we will be held responsible. So do something good for your country and yourself. Get involved!