Inmigración: legalización o deportación, la decisión está en nuestras manos

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (OSV News) -- At their annual spring meeting, the U.S. Catholic bishops were exhorted to focus on the Eucharist as the "place of encounter" where the wounded yet victorious Christ meets and transforms his church.

Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio to the U.S., addressed the bishops June 13 during the USCCB's 2024 Spring Plenary Assembly, held June 12-14 in Louisville. Public sessions of the gathering were being livestreamed June 13 and 14 via the USCCB website.

Noting the National Eucharistic Revival's four pilgrimages -- which will converge from across the country at the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July -- Cardinal Pierre said the processions "are an outward symbol of what we want to happen on a spiritual level.

"We want people to turn to the Eucharistic Lord, to walk with him, and to be led by him," said the cardinal. "We also want this to happen in the context of community. Our people need to experience that a journey with the Lord is also a journey with others who seek the Lord (and) that this journey is a true synod."

Christ's post-resurrection encounter with his Apostles, during which he showed them his pierced hands and feet, shows that "the wounds suffered in the body of Christ become signs of his victory over death," said Cardinal Pierre.

In the same way, he said, the "presence of the risen Christ" can be discerned "in the woundedness of the church."

Among "the most glaring wounds" are "the scandal of abuse and of failed oversight, the plague of indifference toward the poor and suffering … skepticism toward God and religion in a secularized culture … (and) an agitating temptation toward polarization and division, even among those of us who are committed to Christ and his church."

As both a disciple and shepherd, the bishop "feels these wounds firsthand," said Cardinal Pierre. "How can a shepherd, who himself is hurting, adequately lead and guide his suffering sheep? We find the answer in Christ. By showing the Apostles his hands, feet, and side, the Lord is saying to them, and to us: 'I choose to make your sin and failure a part of the story of my victory. If the marks of my crucifixion can exist on my resurrected body, then the marks of your own suffering and failures can exist in the body of my resurrected church.'"

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services, president of the USCCB, echoed the centrality of the Eucharist in his June 13 address to the bishops at the assembly, saying, "We are eagerly preparing for the upcoming National Eucharistic Congress. … It will be important to consider how to capitalize on the momentum of this important event which will gather so many faithful to celebrate the Lord's unique presence."

The archbishop stressed the importance of "the continued building and reaffirmation of our Eucharistic faith," and surveyed a broad range of concerns the Catholic Church in the U.S. seeks to address with the love of Christ.

With June 6 marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Archbishop Broglio prayerfully recalled those who had sacrificed their lives to liberate Europe from the Nazis. He then turned to a host of conflicts currently besetting the world, commending the work of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, whose chair, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, traveled to Israel and Palestine on an April 12-18 pastoral visit amid the Israel-Hamas war. The cardinal's visit commemorated the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, established by Pope Pius XII in 1949 and placed since its inception under the administration of CNEWA.

"We are anxious to see peace return to that corner of the world where our Lord walked and we join the Bishop of Rome in his earnest appeal for dialogue, an end to hostilities, and care for the innocent victims of war," said Archbishop Broglio.

He also expressed his gratitude to Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency, for its "presence and action of … in that troubled area and in so many other places," adding that such assistance is made possible by "the generosity of the people entrusted to our pastoral care."

The archbishop also highlighted the needs of war-ravaged Syria and violence-plagued Haiti, noting that Father Thomas Hagan, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, had recently returned to his long-running mission in the latter country "to care for the poor and abandoned."

"He is another example of the positive efforts of the church in the United States to be mindful of our neighbors," said Archbishop Broglio.

He drew attention to "the situation of the migrants who seek a safe haven along our southern borders," noting that "the bishops in those dioceses try their best to respect the law, but also to respond to the divine law that speaks to us about care for the poor, the homeless, and the unborn."

"In an election year our pleas will probably fall on deaf ears," he admitted. "But we cannot cease in our efforts to proclaim the Gospel from the rooftops and to see if we cannot influence those in power at the very least to improve the conditions in the countries of origin so that migration is not seen as a necessity for life."

Archbishop Broglio advised that Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matalgalpa, Nicaragua -- who had been imprisoned in August 2022 and then exiled in early 2024 by that nation's repressive Ortega administration -- had written " to thank all of us for our solidarity."

In addition, said the archbishop, "we also remember our suffering brothers and sisters in Ukraine and offer them the solidarity of our prayers, our willingness to offer refuge and support, and our encouragement to the U.S. government and those of good will who hold dear the treasure of self-determination, respect for national borders, and the right to live in peace free from foreign invasion."

Archbishop Broglio also examined the fundamental battle to uphold "human dignity from the moment of conception until natural death," and lauded the April release of the declaration "Dignitas Infinita" by the Vatican's Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which affirms God's creative intention for the unity of body and soul and sexual differentiation.

The archbishop applauded the work of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and the USCCB's Committee on Liturgy for their work on the revised Liturgy of the Hours.

With the second session of the synod of bishops set to take place in October, Archbishop Broglio said he and his fellow bishops were "eager to see the final version" of the "Instrumentum Laboris," or working document, for the synod, which will no doubt be an opportunity to advance the notion of synodality in the church."

"It is good that we have the opportunity to gather here and to consider the important agenda items that will occupy our time," said Archbishop Broglio.

During the course of their spring assembly gathering, the bishops -- who meet in fall and spring general assemblies each year to conduct business and to discuss various canonical and civil issues -- will receive updates on the Synod on Synodality; the National Eucharistic Revival and its attendant July 17-21 National Eucharistic Congress; the USCCB's recently launched mental health campaign; and migration. The bishops also were to decide whether to affirm opening a canonization cause for Adele Brise, a 19th-century Belgian immigrant and woman religious whose visions of Mary near Champion, Wisconsin, were deemed worthy of belief in 2010 by Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Before their public sessions, the bishops -- whose schedule included communal prayer and dialogue -- evaluated the status and future of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the official domestic anti-poverty agency of the U.S. bishops, which has suffered in recent years from declining donations; a shift in available post-pandemic resources; and long-running criticisms, both doctrinal and political, made by some with respect to the projects funded by CCHD.

Among the action items up for vote at the plenary are pastoral frameworks for ministry to Indigenous and to youth and young adults, along with decisions relating to texts for the Liturgy of the Hours, the Roman rite's form of the church's divine office, which consists of canonical "hours" of prayer observed throughout the day by clergy, religious and laity. Typically, clergy and religious -- but not laity, although it is highly encouraged -- are obliged to pray the Divine Office.

- - - Gina Christian is a multimedia reporter for OSV News. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at @GinaJesseReina.