The Archdiocese of Chicago is a staunch defender of immigrants and their rights, as evidenced by its large immigration ministry. Its mission is to welcome all immigrants and work to empower them as full members of society.
The Archdiocese’s commitment to welcoming immigrants starts at the top, with Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago. Just over a year ago, he issued a statement when buses with migrants began arriving in Chicago: “We Christians are called to welcome the stranger, the migrant, the refugee, because they too are children of God, all of us members of the same family, the human family.”
This week, Cardinal Cupich backed up his commitment when he visited Viator House of Hospitality. He was met by Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, Executive Director and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, Director of Programs and Housing, who gave him a tour of the home and described its programs before introducing him to residents and giving him an opportunity to share his thoughts.
The Cardinal is the second dignitary to visit Viator House, this year. In March, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin toured the house and met participants.
“Cardinal Cupich was very affable and spent a good hour with the guys,” Br. Gosch said. “He was very interested in our work. It was a very positive meeting.”
Br. Gosch and Fr. Brost started Viator House of Hospitality in 2017 with a mission of providing compassionate accompaniment for young immigrant men, seeking asylum. Since its inception, they have welcomed 108 young men from 27 nations.
The majority entered this country as unaccompanied minors. Consequently, without a legal parent or guardian in the U.S., these young men would have been bound for temporary shelters or prison-style detention centers, after aging out of federally funded child-care facilities. Consequently, at Viator House they not only receive housing, but social services, legal assistance, employment preparation, mental health services, as well as access to local schools and jobs.
Cardinal Cupich was interested in hearing about all the services these men receive and for that, Br. Gosch and Fr. Brost, and all of their staff and young men were grateful.
“Your genuine interest in the lives of the participants you met, along with your reminder to them that they are gifts to our nation, meant a lot,” Fr. Brost said. “Thank you for being such a strong voice for migrant rights day in and day out. Thank you for mobilizing the local church to welcome the thousands of asylum-seekers who have arrived in Chicago. You’re a true gift to us all.”