By Violeta Rocha
Special to The Texas Catholic
Representatives of different denominations and leaders of Dallas Area Interfaith welcomed more than 500 people from diverse congregations to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Dallas on June 18 for a prayer vigil focusing on immigration reform.
In speaking at the “A Cry for Immigration Reform and a Call to Local Action” event, Diocese of Dallas Auxiliary Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel stressed the necessity of keeping families together.
“Immigration laws must be just, capable of being followed, respecting of the dignity of the human person and geared to uniting families, not separating them,” said Bishop Deshotel, who recalled the words of Pope Francis that every child has a right to a mother and a father in asking lawmakers to “take into account the sanctity of the family.”
Local immigrants also shared their stories with those in attendance. Glenda Castro, leader of a youth group at OLPH, recalled how four years ago her father was deported, leading to a time of suffering and fear for the rest of her family.
Rosa Vazquez, leader of ministries of hospitality at San Juan Diego Catholic Church in Dallas, shared her distress in getting low pay for extra work.
“We are all children of God, and a legal status does not change that,” Vazquez said.
Father Cruz Calderon, pastor of OLPH, said that as a church, Catholics have the responsibility to work together and put the “word of faith into action.”
Closing the vigil with prayer, Father Jesus Belmontes, pastor of San Juan Diego Catholic Church, asked God “to help us to be the eyes of those that can’t see, to be the arms of those that cannot reach, and to be the voice of those that cannot speak.”
This assembly was the first in a series focusing on comprehensive immigration reform as well as local issues affecting immigrant families.
Msgr. Robert Coerver, pastor of St. Rita Catholic Church, said another meeting is scheduled at 2 p.m. June 29 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.