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From the Pastor's Desk

posted Jan 17, 2017, 8:49 PM by Kurt Weber

Dear Parishioners 

One of the more controversial issues of the last election cycle was immigration. Certainly there are definitely two perspectives on this topic and some would say that it is a political issue that does not belong in the spectrum of church. There is no doubt it is a political issue but one with very definite moral values attached to it and this is where it becomes an issue of the church as well.

There were hard words used to defend the various positions but we have an opportunity to view this issue from the liturgical season we have just celebrated. Jesus was born in one sense as an immigrant far from his native village because of the need to comply with a law to go to the family's place of origin for a Roman census. They were driven into Egypt, a foreign country, because of the fear of Herod and his desire to kill the child. In other words, the Holy Family were immigrants in their time.

The Pope and the Catholic bishops throughout the world, including our own country, have asked us to be compassionate in regard to the immigration crisis caused by the terrible presence of war and other atrocities. Are they asking us to admit terrorists? Are they asking us to take in violent criminals?

They are asking us to be humane, to be Christian in our perspective. Often times these issues are seen in the abstract. Think about the immigrant community that is part of St Mary's. I knew the circumstances of the immigrant community of Reston much better than the immigrant community here but I believe it is similar. I found them to be hard working members of the civic as well as the church community.

I never ask them their legal status because many people acknowledge the far different situation and expectations placed on immigrants to become legal today as opposed to the immigrant members of our families who came here long ago. It is a very costly and complicated process that puts it beyond the reach of many who would like to attain a legal presence here.

Recent Popes have addressed this issue and do not expect us to take in those with terrorist leanings or criminal backgrounds but they do ask us to do our part to effectively work for realistic immigrant legislation that would empower our government to open our shores to those with the intent of being positively assimilated into this country as our forefathers and mothers did when they arrived and to revamp the naturalization process to eliminate some of the prohibitive components.

The American bishops recently elected leadership for the next three years. The usual course of action is the sitting Vice President becomes the incoming President. The newly elected Vice President is Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, who is a Mexican-born American citizen. He will probably become the Bishops' Conference President right before our next Presidential election. It seems to me their choice of him is a public statement on this issue.

Please do not lump all members of a specific nationality, race or religion together because any known grouping of people have those who do not positively contribute to society and that includes your ethnic heritage and your religious family.

I ask that you pray for the prejudices you might harbor and ask God for help for yourself to be able to see the good in everyone - to truly see as he sees.

God bless Fr. Tom M. Mass