From Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ
Bishop of Oakland
In the midst of the political complexity surrounding immigration in this country I am very pleased that the social service arm of our diocese, Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB), is fully engaged. They have attorneys, law students, accredited paralegals, teachers and counselors providing legal, resettlement and employment services to very needy refugees and immigrants, our neighbors.
On Ash Wednesday I was happy to hear their fine work highlighted on a national NPR news broadcast. Listen to that here. Parishes can reach out to CCEB to connect parishioners who need legal help by calling Maciel Jacques, Legal Services Program Coordinator, at (510) 768-3137.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley is co-chair of the US Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. He reminds us, “Immigration is not primarily a political problem, but rather a deeply human and profoundly moral challenge facing our nation.” Catholic social services provide one of the refuges for those grappling with these very human challenges.
These challenges are world-wide. Speaking on the Italian island of Lampedusa, at the borders of Europe, Pope Francis said “We have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters. We have fallen into the hypocrisy of the Priest and the Levite whom Jesus described in the parable of the Good Samaritan: we see our brother half dead on the side of the road and perhaps we say to ourselves, ‘Poor soul’ and then go our way.” His words resonate in our part of the world as well.
I invite all to join voices with the California bishops: “We call on Congress and the President to work together toward a more comprehensive response to the humanitarian crisis of a broken immigration system. We will work with the California Congressional delegation and the President to accomplish that goal.”