Wednesday, November 22, 2006

National Migration Week - January 7-13, 2007

'Lord, when did we see you a stranger...and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' (Mt. 25:44-45)

"Welcoming Christ in the Migrant" is the theme for National Migration Week which is observed in 2007 on January 7-13. It is both an invitation and a challenge to provide welcome for the migrants, immigrants, refugees, human traffiking victims, and other people on the move who come to our country seeking justice and peace.

This is a particularly timely reminder as we continue to grapple with the immigration debate in which the strangers in our midst have often become a source of fear and mistrust. Catholic Social Teaching and Scriptures call upon us all to welcome the stranger as we would Christ himself.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops have produced some very colorful and beautiful resources for parishes and schools. These materials include prayer cards, posters, and a parish guide. These resources are available in Spanish and English online at

St. Catherine's Movie Night

On November 21, St. Catherine's Parish in Morgan Hill hosted the showing of the documentary film, "Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey." The event was coordinated by St. Catherine's Parish Social Justice Liaison, Mario Banuelos.

Mario wanted to highlight the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. As he was quoted in the Morgan Hill Times, "We want a road to legalization for all the illegal immigrants who are here. We want them to be able to come out of the shadows...with dignity and to be functional in society." To reach out to youth and their families, he invited the confirmation class, their parents, and sponsors.

Over 60 people from the parish and community came. Many came forward and offered their personal stories - of coming across the border, of being an Irish or Italian immigrant. It was an opportunity to put a human face on the issue. This is a real example of the work that many parish liaisons are doing on important issues. Congratulations to St. Catherine's, and to Mario and the team!

"Dying to Live" is a 33-minute documentary produced by the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame University. To obtain a copy, see:

here for article featuring the event in the Morgan Hill Times.

Immigration Materials for Advent

The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform (CCIR) of the Diocese of San Jose has put together Advent materials with an immigration theme. These materials were adapted from those available from the Archdiocese of Chicago. Included in the packet are:
  • Homily Helps and Prayers of the Faithful
  • A Lesson for Children in School and Religious Education
  • Multicultural Christmas Celebrations
  • Additional Parish/School Resources (Websites, Books, Videos)

There is still time to make use of these materials. To download or view copies:

An Immigrant Prayer

You are the God who bears the brunt of the question, “Why didn’t you stay where you belong?” You feel the red-faced embarrassment when we hear, “Keep your distance, you foreigner, with your different-colored skin and your strange-sounding speech, with your culture, food, religion, and clothing that are inferior to my own.”

You are the God who sits along side of us who work in sweatshops, with our bloodshot eyes and aching fingers squinting under the soul-less glare of a florescent light.

You are the God who rises early in the morning with us as we go to harvest fresh vegetables and fruits picked with fingers stained by the pesticides and fungicides that penetrate our skin.

You are the God who stands with us in the chill of the morning in the parking lot at Home Depot, with anxious stomachs hoping that we too would be picked to work just for that one day.

Loving God, as we stand before you today, help us to remember that when we speak of immigrants and refugees, we speak of Christ.

Hear our prayers for necessary, just, and comprehensive immigration reform. Make us strong in the work for immigrant justice and remind us that our work is no easier than the every day work of our immigrant sisters and brothers.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(adapted from website by Fr. Jon Pedigo)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

US Bishops Issue Statement on Iraq War

"Blessed are the Peacemakers for they will be called Children of God" (Matthew 5:9)

On November 13, 2006, the bishops of the United States issued a statement that calls for serious and civil dialogue on a morally responsible transition in Iraq. The central message of the statement is that the search for genuine justice and peace in Iraq requires moral urgency, substantive dialogue and new directions.

The statement outlines benchmarks for a responsible transition and declares, "Our nation's military forces should remain in Iraq only as long as their presence contributes to a responsible transition. Our nation should look for effective ways to ends their deployment at the earliest opportunity consistent with this goal."

The statement offers support and prayers for U.S. troops in Iraq, their families here at home, their chaplains in the field, the suffering Iraqi people, and Christians and other religious minorities who are especially vulnerable in the region.

Click here copy of the full statement.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Catholic Social Ministry Gathering - February 9-14, 2007

"Bringing Good News to a Broken World: Overcoming Fear with God's Love" is the theme of the 2007 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, DC on February 9-14, 2007.

The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is the annual meeting of social justice ministry leaders from national Catholic organizations and dioceses throughout the nation. The meeting includes prayer and worship, challenging speakers, and social ministry strategy sessions. In addition, participants receive detailed briefings on priority peace and justice issues especially as they affect the poor and vulnerable. A highlight of the meeting involves bringing a common Catholic message on these issues to our Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill.

Attending for the Diocese of San Jose will be Linda Batton, Terrie Iacino, Father Jon Pedigo, and Deacon Steve Herrera.

If you are also interested in attending, the registration form is available online at:

To view or download the 21-page brochure, click here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

USCCB & CRS - Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have implemented a new campaign, The Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty. In this Campaign, they invite Catholics throughout the U.S. to advocate for national policies that foster economic and social development for people living in poverty throughout the world.

The Campaign focuses on three areas of U.S. economic policy:

  • Trade - Shaping U.S. trade policies so that overcoming poverty and promoting human development are central priorities.
  • Aid - Supporting effective programs that foster long-term development and empowerment of the poor.
  • Debt - Eliminating the debt of the poorest countries in ways that reduce poverty and promote dignity.

The website has extensive resources including specific action steps for social justice groups, bulletin announcements, educational material on global poverty and Catholic Social Teaching, and prayers and intercessions. You can also register online to receive a complete parish packet. See or

Mission Co-Op 2006

This year we again had missionaries visiting our parishes from all over the world including India, Ghana, the Philippines, Haiti, South Africa, Oaxaca, Mexico as well as mission-sending organizations such as Maryknoll, the Medical Missionaries of Mary, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the California Jesuit Missionaries, the Capuchin Franciscan Order, the Columban Fathers, and the Society of African Missions and others.

As of this writing, a total of $256,625.38 has been collected to support missions! Thank you sincerely for all that you do to support missions and mission activities in our diocese. Each year, this amount increases and we hear wonderful stories about how welcome missionaries feel when visiting our parishes.

We are now preparing for the Mission Co-Op in 2007. Missionaries visit our parishes during the summer months. They are an under-utilized resource and are often available to give talks or reflections on their work to parish groups or schools. If you would like to know who has been assigned to your parish and the date of their appeal, contact Sylvia at 408-983-0128.