Faith

Catholic Bishops: 'We See the Very Struggles of the Holy Family' in Immigrants and Refugees

Santa Claus distributes Christmas gifts to Syrian refugees in Sidon, Lebanon, on Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in his Christmas message this week that “we see the very struggles of the Holy Family” in immigrants and refugees.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said that “like the Magi and the shepherds before us, we are making our Christmas journey to see the newborn savior.”

“Centuries ago, gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh greeted the infant Jesus. People in need of God’s love rejoiced in the news of his birth and offered gifts of gratitude. This Christmas, let us also visit the manger and give the gift of ourselves. This gift arises from our desire and search for peace at this time and place,” DiNardo said.

“We discover the fragile innocence of hope in the eyes of a new born baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Mary and Joseph welcomed this young hope, for Jesus made known, in his very Person, the promise of ‘great joy that will be for all people.’ We can nurture that same hope today. We do this by greeting one another in love and charity, embracing civility and not letting our differences hide the dignity and beauty God has given each of us as his children.”

The cardinal added of “our sisters and brothers who find themselves immigrants and refugees on Christmas Day” that “the angel of the Lord, Joseph heard the call to ‘rise and flee’ in order to keep Mary and Jesus safe from violence at home.”

“The Catholic Church in the United States is praying for you and is working to welcome you as we would the Holy Family,” he said.

The USCCB announced Wednesday that National Migration Week 2017 will be Jan. 8-14 with the theme “Creating a Culture of Encounter.”

Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, said the week will be “an excellent opportunity to highlight Biblical tradition and our mission to welcome the newcomer.”

“While the observance is only a week long, it is a vital time to show welcome, compassion, and solidarity with our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters,” Vásquez said. The bishops have been observing National Migration Week for more than 25 years “as both a time for prayer and action to highlight the contributions of immigrants and vulnerable populations coming to the United States.”

Concluding his Christmas message, DiNardo emphasized that “we remain a people in need of God’s love this Christmas, especially the unborn or unemployed, the suffering and sick, the lonely and the grieving.”

“Let us pray the Holy Spirit will come upon us as he overshadowed the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation so that filled with the love of her Son, we will ‘proclaim the greatness of the Lord.’ Merry Christmas!”