Damn Right That's What America's About, Sister

Sure, seems like as good a time as any to honor immigrants; it's just a good thing they aren't doing it, like, in Farmers Branch. During noon mass on Sunday at the downtown Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe, Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann will be on hand to commemorate World Day for Migrants and Refugees. And it's an appropriate venue: Since the immigration debate was pushed to the fore last spring, Catholic officials and organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Justice for Immigrants campaign, have defended immigrants and demanded legal reforms.

The Roman Catholic Church -- especially in border states such as California and Texas -- is well aware that large swaths of its membership are here illegally, and priests and Catholic social service providers see the effects of a complex and flawed immigration system on a daily basis. Father Eduardo Gonzalez recently told Unfair Park that his largely Latino congregation constantly faces the frustrations of citizenship processing backlogs and separation for families in which some members have legal status and others don't and are deported.

"The goal is to honor the dignity of the millions of refugees and immigrants worldwide, including in the local Dallas community," says Sister Nancy Sullivan, who's coordinating Sunday's events. "This day is set up to think and pray for them, but also to call us to compassion. The Judeo-Christian response would be compassion -- and many of the people I know have lost a sense of that, they're so wrapped up in legal or illegal. We have to wake ourselves up in terms of liturgy and honoring people -- people who are starting new lives, who have new energy, new blood. That's what America's about." --Megan Feldman