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Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron: “We stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

From The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop | Issued December 9, 2016

Dear Brothers,

I wanted to share with you this following statement, which I issued publicly today and offered tonight at Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral (a Spanish-language version of this same statement is available here):

As we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Memorial of St. Juan Diego – her chosen spokesman – we recall with gratitude her powerful witness to the tender mercy of God, present among us in flesh and blood in the person of her Son, the Lord Jesus. In these days it is particularly right to turn our thoughts and prayers to the migrants and refugees, those who find themselves on the margins of our community.

Looking at the image of Our Lady which miraculously emerged from Juan Diego’s tilma, we see her eyes downcast. Mary sets for us a model of compassion and humility. She reassures Juan Diego “I am a merciful mother to you and to all your fellow peoples on this earth who love me and trust me and invoke my help. I listen to the lamentations and solace all their sorrows and their sufferings.” For us throughout the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe is our special patroness, our particular intercessor, and our standard for compassion.

The responsibility of governing our nation rests with our elected officials. This special privilege and honor is a solemn duty which they hold. While this duty necessarily includes protecting our national borders and enforcing laws, it cannot end there. It must include ensuring the dignity of the human person, the protection of families, and a generosity commensurate with the blessings our nation has received. Therefore, our immigration system must treat migrants and refugees with the same dignity as native-born citizens. It must recognize the fundamental wrong of separating families, particularly when children are involved. And it must not be blind to the rich contribution made – in the past and in the present – by men and women who have come to this country as migrants or refugees.

Under the mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we, the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit, commit ourselves to bring compassion and companionship to those who struggle, who are afraid or desperate. Having experienced God’s love for us in giving us Mary as our Mother, how can we be deaf to their cries? How can we be blind to the genocide of Christians in the Middle East? How can we not trust Our Lady’s words at Tepeyac: “Why are you disturbed? Why are you troubled? Why are you afraid? Am I not your Mother?”

Our local community in metro-Detroit is much richer for the contributions of our brothers and sisters from Mexico and El Salvador, from India and Pakistan, from Iraq and Syria, from China and Korea, from Ukraine and Poland, from Cameroon and Nigeria. As disciples of Jesus Christ and sons and daughters of Our Lady of Guadalupe, our local Church bears our Lady’s message of hope to the needy and listens to the cry of the afraid. Under her protection, know that we stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters.

Yours in Christ,

Abp. Vigneron

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