Welcoming the Stranger

Welcoming the Stranger

The other day, our intern, Rich Meyer, and I participated in a national media conference, via telephone, from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The topic: immigration legislation. There is currently an overhaul of US immigration law being proposed, one that will wend its way through Congress in the coming months. The Catholic Church has much to say about how our nation welcomes immigrants.

Present for the news conference were the bishops’ leaders on the issue: Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez (himself from an immigrant family, and chair of the bishops’ committee that advocates for immigrants), New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan (president of the bishops’ conference), and Salt Lake City Bishop John Wester (the bishops’ communications chair). The US bishops, as we know, stay away from candidate advocacy, but are keen on bringing the wisdom of Catholic teaching to policy debates.

A group of journalists from around the country listened to short speeches, then the “floor” opened for questions. There were a number of questions in light of the Boston Marathon bombing, and various issues related to the pending legislation. You can hear a recording of the entire conference at the  justiceforimmigrants.org–look under the events tab.

The headline from the conference, picked up by various media, was Cardinal Dolan’s statement not to let the events of Boston change the course of long-awaited reform.

I asked a question about timing–it looks as if this will drag on all summer, into the fall. There’s a good story about a group of advocates protecting immigrants in the desert from dying of thirst in the current digital and print editions of  St. Anthony Messenger. We hope to have another article later this year. By the way, the photo above is my old analog phone, connected to a digital recorder–tools of the trade!


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).