From staff reports
A joyous, celebratory and faith-filled spirit permeated St. Rita Catholic Community on July 23 as Bishop Edward J. Burns celebrated a special send-forth Mass for Diocese of Dallas pilgrims heading to Lisbon, Portugal for World Youth Day 2023. In offering his prayers, blessing and gratitude to those pilgrims who would be joining him in Libson, Bishop Burns also called on those young pilgrims and all people of faith to uphold the dignity of life.
“We have a responsibility, as faithful citizens, to work with our government officials to ensure the dignity of all, an ideal enshrined on the Statue of Liberty: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,'” Bishop Burns said. “We ask all people of goodwill to join us in this work, and to join us in praying for our brothers and sisters experiencing the harsh realities of this journey, and for all who encounter them.”
Please find a transcript of Bishop Burns’ homily from the July 23rd Mass below:
It is good to be with all of you. In today’s reading and in today’s events in the city of Dallas, we focus on justice, love, and human dignity.
Later on today, Father Ricardo [Reyes] will be gathering with a number of other people to remember the horrific story of the Young Boy, Santo Rodriguez, who was killed as a result of racism at the hands of someone who wants to be trusted. This crime which took place here in Dallas made national news and it is being remembered today, 50 years later.
My predecessor, Bishop Tschoepe, who sat on that chair in this cathedral spoke to the city Council Dallas and offered this statement:
“We cannot undo what has been done, but we can look beyond, and we can seek to identify and eliminate the attitudes, the misunderstandings, the ignorance and the prejudice that were the underlying causes. Until there has been a change of heart among all our peoples there will be no lasting justice.”
Soon after that statement, it was acknowledged by civic leaders that there was indeed a prejudice well established within the community.
I need to address this injustice, racism, and also share that we have a long way to go, especially as you reflect on recent developments at the border. You may be aware of some recent events at the border that are also horrific. In light of this, I joined my brother bishops in crafting this statement which was released this past week.
“Recent media reports present a disturbing account of horrific tragedies occurring along the Rio Grande on the Texas/Mexico border.
These reports stir our hearts again for the plight of our sisters and brothers who are seeking a better life. These mothers, fathers, children, and others are doing what anyone would do to find a better life. They have moved to secure honest work and a safe community. The fact that they were born in a place which could not provide these basic human rights does not give anyone the right to treat them inhumanely.
For decades, the United States’ migration policies have failed to address sufficiently the root causes of migration. They have failed to uphold our country’s principle to welcome all who seek a life free of tyranny.
We have a responsibility, as faithful citizens, to work with our government officials to ensure the dignity of all, an ideal enshrined on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
We ask all people of goodwill to join us in this work, and to join us in praying for our brothers and sisters experiencing the harsh realities of this journey, and for all who encounter them.”
I heard there were some who were pushing children back into the river, and also pushing nursing mothers back into the river, instead of letting them enter the country. I don’t know if those reports are true. We are called to reach out to them in assistance, to help the stranger. That’s what we’re going to do as Christians and his patriots. We can do better and we need a day like this where we start to reflect on who we are. We are disciples of Jesus Christ.
In today’s reading from the book of wisdom, we gather these words:
“And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good ground for hope”
As the Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas and as your shepherd, it is important that we uphold the dignity of every human person and every family. While every country has the right to protect its borders, every family has a right to a better life. The care, concern, and charity toward members of the immigrant community are based on our core values as Christians and disciples of Jesus Christ to treat all people with respect and charity, but also as noted on the Statue of liberty inscription, The same values are a part of our patriotic core values. As a Christian and as Americans we should always treat everyone that we see as either our brother or our sister. Let us always remember the words of our Lord who said, for I was a stranger and you’re welcome to me.
Let us continue to pray for the conversion of hearts and minds so that as a community we may bring forth lasting peace and justice. Amen