Even before National Migration Week opened across the country, Viatorians gathered at
the Viatorian House of Hospitality, located in the Chicago area, to begin preparing to welcome their first residents: young men from El Salvador, Guinea, Honduras, Somalia and Sri Lanka.
They all are seeking asylum, and were released from shelters and welcomed by Viatorians — before they were put into adult detention facilities.
National Migration Week is celebrated annually during the first full week of January. It is a time designated by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to remember the journey of the Holy Family as they had to live in the shadows and cross the border into Egypt to escape death at the hands of King Herod.
The Church calls parishes, Catholic schools and religious communities to a heightened awareness of the difficult journey of today’s immigrants and to work as a community so migrants can “step out of the darkness.”
As part of the Viatorian response, Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, led a delegation of nine college-age young adults from Viatorian ministry sites — St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas, St. Viator Parish in Chicago, St. Viator High School and Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep — to Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border, where they reflected on immigration and faith. The young people met with migrants as well as many of people of faith who advocate for their rights.
At the start of National Migration Week, a Viatorian delegation of 60 associates, professed, youth and adult leaders — from Arlington Heights/Chicago and Bourbonnais/Kankakee regions — gathered at Holy Name Cathedral for an opening Mass celebrated by Cardinal Blase Cupich.
The multi-cultural Mass highlighted the ethnic diversity of the Archdiocese through multilingual readings, intercessions of the liturgy and music in languages including Spanish, Polish, Vietnamese and Tagalog.
Cardinal Cupich asked all in attendance to pray for immigrants, before giving way to testimony from a Syrian refugee and a student-recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Afterwards, the Viatorian delegation gathered for pizza and discussion about ways to support the ongoing immigration ministry efforts at St. Viator Parish in Chicago.