Reflection for November 16, 2013, Immigration prayer service at the Christ Cathedral Campus – Garden Grove, CA

Dear friends,

Starting at noon on Saturday, November 16, 2013, crowds began to gather on the Christ Cathedral campus for a prayer service at 1:00 PMfor a time of prayer and reflection on the urgency of comprehensive immigration reform. When the service began there were, by all estimates over 3,000 people present. Thanks for all of the hard work of those who made this moment of faith, solidarity and witness possible: our office of Respect Life, Justice and Peace headed by Greg Walgenbach, our Chancellor Shirl Giacomi, Bishop Dominic Luong and Bishop Alexander Salazar of Los Angeles. The many people who were present were witnesses to the dignity of human life, and the long and dynamic immigrant history of the United States. This country has long strived to be a place where new life can be found and families are united for a better life and are afforded the opportunity to make a lasting contribution to fabric of life here, just as all of those who came here in past years did. We go forward, praying for all of our elected officials that they will respond to these real human needs, which for pastors and those in ministry are united with spiritual needs and the realities of Faith. I have included my comments and reflections shared during Saturday’s prayer service below.

Please be assured of my continued prayers for you and your families.

Sincerely in Christ,

+ Bishop Kevin Vann

Reflection for November 16, 2013, Immigration prayer service at the Christ Cathedral Campus – Garden Grove, CA

Reflexión para el 16 de noviembre de 2013
Oración para inmigración en el campus de la Catedral de Cristo

Estimados hermanos y hermanas,
Dear brothers and sisters all,

Gracias a todos ustedes por estar aquí presentes, como una familia reunida en Fe, solidaridad y oración, como peregrinos en este camino, el cual es guiado por el Señor. Él quien por tantos años guío a muchos de nuestros antepasados a este país en búsqueda de esperanza, de una vida nueva para sus familias, y también en búsqueda de libertad para practicar y vivir nuestra Fe religiosa.

[Thank you all for being here today as one family gathered in Faith, solidarity, and prayer; as pilgrims on a journey, guided by the hand of the Lord who guided so many of our ancestors to this country for so many years. Who were in search of hope, a new life for their families, and even the freedom to practice and live their religious faith!]

Hace poco tiempo regrese a la ciudad de Springfield, en el estado de Illinois, donde yo nací. Y como suelo hacer, fui a visitar el cementerio, a las tumbas de mis primos y de mi familia. Primero fui al gran monumento de granito que pertenece a las familias Waters y Howard. La inscripción en el cemento indicaba fechas de nacimiento, de su muerte y el lugar de nacimiento. La familia Howard y los Waters son mis bisabuelos y mis tatarabuelos. ¿Cuál era la inscripción de la lápida? Nacidos en el condado de Carlow, Irlanda,nacidos en el condado de Wexford, Irlanda, y nacidos el condado de Waterford en Irlanda.

¡Eran Inmigrantes!

Eran familias que dejaron su país por una vida mejor y por la esperanza de un nuevo comienzo.

[Not long ago, I was back in Springfield, Illinois, where I was born and as I usually try to do, I went to the cemetery to visit the graves of my cousins and families. I first went to a big black granite monument for the Waters and Howard families. The dates of the birth of the people buried there were etched on the stone, the dates of their death, and the place where they were born. The Howards and the Waters are my great grandparents and my great-great grandparents. What did the burial marker say: Born in County Carlow, Ireland, born in County Wexford, Ireland and born in County Waterford, Ireland. Immigrants! They were families who left their countries for a better life and hope to begin again. ]

Su fe Católica los sostenía durante esa jornada a través del mar tormentoso, el cual reflejo los nuevos retos que enfrentaría en su nueva vida en otro país: prejuicio contra los desconocidos y de Católicos en el movimiento nativismo, y el miedo a los extranjeros, la inhabilidad de obtener empleo, y la inhabilidad de convertirse en ciudadanos del país que ahora es su nuevo hogar. Sin embargo, retuvieren su Fe, y continuaron. Así como lo hicieron los inmigrantes de las páginas de la Sagrada Escritura (como por ejemplo, Abraham y Sara) ellos conservaron su Fe y continuaron adelante, con el conocimiento que el poder de Dios es más grande que cualquier obstáculo que ellos enfrentarían. También sabían las palabras de San Pablo, quien nos dice hoy en día, que sobre todo, somos ciudadanos en la casa de Dios, en donde la Fe no tiene límite. También sabían, que día tras día, el Señor estaba trabando entre ellos, para edificar a la gente de su nueva tierra, para que ellos edificaran al país, en el cual encontraron libertad. También sabían que San Pablo dijo que, “Dios dispone todas las cosas para bien de los que lo aman.” Sabían que no podían regresan, no se atrevían a mirar atrás, ellos solo podían mirar adelante, hacia el Señor quien los guía.

[Their Catholic Faith was what sustained them in the journey across, the sometimes, stormy seas, which would reflect new storms that they would face. Prejudice against strangers and Catholics in the nativist movements and fear of “foreigners”, the inability to find employment, and the inability to become citizensof the country that was their new home in a timely fashion. Yet, they kept the Faith, and the kept going. Like the immigrant peoples of the pages of Sacred Scripture (Abraham and Sarah, for example), they kept their Faith kept moving forward, knowing that the power of God was greater than any obstacle that they might face. They also knew words of St. Paul who tells us today, that above all, we are citizens of the household of God, where Faith knows no limits. They also knew, day in and day out, that the Lord was working in their midst to build them as a people in their new land, so that they too, could build up the country where they found true freedom. They also knew that St. Paul would say in another place, “All things work to the good for those who love God.” They knew that they could not go back, they dare not look back, and they could only look forward to the Lord who was leading them.]

Esta historia ¿no es similar hoy en día? Les pido que nos comprometernos hoy a seguir adelante con Fe, así como nuestros antepasados lo hicieron. Hay que seguir adelante con amor y valor, orando para que el amor de Dios- Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo- se derive sobre todo el país, para que guie al gobierno a la decisión correcta y justa – en la cual familias se mantienen unidas, y el talento, trabajo y la buena voluntad de todos, sin importar nuestro origen, continúe la historia de construir y reforzar a nuestro país. Que dios nos bendiga hoy en día, y que Dios bendiga a América!

[In so many ways, is not the story the same today? Let us commit ourselves today to go forward in Faith as our ancestors did. Let us go in love and courage, praying that the love of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – may be poured out on all here in our country these days. To guide all in the government to come to right and just decisions, where families may be united, and that the talents, work and good will of all may- wherever we may come from – continue the history of building and strengthening our country. May God bless us today, may God bless America. ]

Immigration prayer service at the Christ Cathedral Campus Immigration prayer service at the Christ Cathedral Campus Immigration prayer service at the Christ Cathedral Campus