For eight years now, Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, has remained committed to his mission of accompanying young adults to the Mexican border, to learn — and see — firsthand the perils that migrants endure.

Fr. Corey addresses the group.

This week, Fr. Corey returned to Nogales, Mexico, for his latest pilgrimage. With him are Br. Peter Lamick, CSV, students from Cristo Rey St. Martin in Waukegan, IL, and another interested young man.

Their first stop was visiting the House of Mercy for People of All Nations in Nogales. The shelter primarily serves families, women and children. In one of its rooms, many children are able to go to classes while their family waits for an asylum appointment.

Next, they stopped in at the St. John Bosco Shelter for Migrants in Nogales. One image that stayed with them was seeing women and children praying before a large image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the chapel. They also witnessed a small family receiving their asylum appointment.

House of Mercy shelter

“They were quite joyful,” Br. Peter said simply.

The most powerful day occurred Wednesday, when the group walked in the Sonoran desert, along the route many migrants take. They learned about its extreme heat and severe weather conditions, as well as the threats they face during their journey, such as gender-based violence, extortion, kidnappings or disappearances.

The group heard from a woman who organizes groups of volunteers to drop off water in the desert for migrants and humanitarian aid, often at risk of being arrested themselves.

A worn out shoe left in the desert

“We took some time looking at and discussing artifacts left by migrants that exemplify their resilience,” Br. Peter added, “as well as resourcefulness in light of the extreme hardships which often take their lives.”

“This is what we do as Viatorians,” Fr. Corey says, “educate young people about pressing issues in our faith, and advocate for those on the margins and the forgotten, which in our society today are the immigrants.”