Dear Parishioners and Friends of O.L.P.H.,
This year we are draped in purple for the first half of April, and in white for the second half. The Easter Vigil falls right in the middle, on the night of April 15 – Easter Sunday is the 16
. May the last days of Lent and the celebrations of Holy Week bring you to the joy and new life of Jesus Christ, the Risen Redeemer!
Every year many men and women are reborn in the waters of baptism, anointed with the Holy Spirit and nourished at the Eucharistic table at the Easter Vigil here in O.L.P.H. This year there are 81 who will receive Easter Sacraments. Our R.C.I.A. process is dynamic, and is celebrated in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. We are happy to be such a rich, multicultural Catholic community!
Obviously, then, we are an immigrant community – nothing new to you, parishioners and friends of OLPH. Many of today’s parishioners are first-generation immigrants, principally from Latin America, China and Vietnam. That puts them in an uncertain place in this country given the Executive Orders on immigration and the action of immigration agents since January of this year. The Bishops of the United States expressed their solidarity with immigrants on March 22, 2017. The following are some of their words as pastors:
“The word of God is truly alive today. “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt" (Lev. 19:33-34). … Let us not lose sight of the fact that behind every policy is the story of a person in search of a better life. They may be an immigrant or refugee family sacrificing so that their children might have a brighter future. As shepherds of a pilgrim Church, we will not tire in saying to families who have the courage to set out from their despair onto the road of hope: We are with you!”
Finally they ask a question and make 3 recommendations: “How might we as Catholics, and in our own small way, bring our words of solidarity for migrants and refugees to life?
for an end to the root causes of violent hatred that force mothers and fathers to flee the only home they may have known in search of economic and physical security for their children.
with members of your parish who are newcomers, listen to their story and share your own. The more we come to understand each other’s concerns the better we can serve one another. Together we are one body in Christ.
, write or visit your elected representatives and ask them to fix our broken immigration system.”
As a parish community, and in conjunction with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and the Diocese of Brooklyn, we are supporting our immigrant families with workshops and other services, as well as through our prayers. Please join us in prayer, and in the civic action and involvement that will eventually bring about a comprehensive immigration reform.
May the joy of Easter fill your heart and home with a sure hope in the power and grace of the Risen Jesus Christ!
Father Jim Gilmour