40 Days for Life begins Sept. 25

Pro-lifers will join peacefully in prayer in the name of the unborn as part of 40 Days for Life, a national campaign, Sept. 25-Nov. 3 in dioceses and archdiocese across the nation. The national campaign is held during the fall and at Lent to encourage people to pray and fast for the end of abortion and to take a stand for life.
Pro-Life Mississippi will hold a prayer gathering at the public right-of-way near Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a state-licensed abortion facility, located at 2903 N. State St., Jackson. Prayerful plan to gather on the sidewalks at the spot from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
For information, contact Barbara Beavers or Tammy Tillman 601-956-8636 or 601-940-5701 or plm@prolifemississippi.org. For more information, visit Jackson 40 Days for Life on Facebook.

Visiting priest brings healing and liberation to area Hispanics

By Berta Mexidor
JACKSON – Father Dirk Kranz of the Diocese of Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, spent three days with Hispanic families here in the Diocese of Jackson, which helped to help bring about healing and hope to those in the wake of recent immigration raids, that left many in crisis and grieving the possible separation of loved ones.
Father Kranz, better known in the Hispanic world as Father Padre Teodoro (or Padre Teo for short), is a much-sought-after speaker, evangelist and director of San Miguel Arcángel Foundation for Healing and Liberation, an apostolate of volunteer lay and professionals dedicated to ministering to both individuals and families.
The “Luz y Vida” Prayer Group of Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson headed up by Orlando Marín and Ivan Varela extended the invitation to Father Teo, who visited Aug. 16-18 at various locations and venues. He was accompanied by Susana Godoy, a recognized therapist, who is a volunteer with the San Miguel Arcángel Foundation and a specialist, who provides therapy to support people facing day-to-day challenges.
Father Teo’s visit included meetings with diocesan leaders at the chancery and his programs included dynamic talks, question and answer sessions, prayers, Masses and anecdotes entertaining and inspiring all.
The presence of Father Teo was highly anticipated in the diocese and beyond as word spread of his arrival. According to the website Catoliscopio, Father Teo is one of 10 most popular Spanish priests, who make the most “noise” on social networks.
Father Teo, who has a doctoral of theology and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, speaks five different languages. He has faithful followers on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. On Facebook alone, he has over 400,000 followers, a testimony of his popularity and ministry of spiritual healing and liberation, apparently much desired by souls of all ages and walks of life.

Father Teo spent much time in the diocese at St. Jude Parish in Pearl. Father Lincoln Dall, St. Jude pastor and vicar general of the Diocese of Jackson, welcomed him on behalf of the diocese. As part of the day, Father Teodoro and Father Dall concelebrated Mass.
Aug. 17, Father Teo led a healing retreat with prayer at Richland Community Center in Richland. Hundreds of Hispanic Catholics from the diocese and various states turned out to participate after word spread about his visit.
Special guest on hand was Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity Father Roberto Mena. A native of Guatemala and radio host on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) Spanish radio, Father Mena is commissioned by Pope Francis and wears the title “Missionary of Mercy.” In total, 1,000 priests from around the world are blessed with the honor and the duty to go out among the people delivering the message of God’s love and mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
During the conference, Father Mena was there offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation to all those who wanted to meet Christ and experience his forgiveness and peace in the confessional. The lines were long with people of all ages.
Father Teo’s visit concluded on Aug. 18 with time spent at the Cathedral of St. Peter. The priest’s whirl-wind visit was short, but apparently, he touched many hearts and brought spiritual healing and peace to many souls.

(Conferences, Mississippi Catholic’s interview and Q&A sessions will be available, in Spanish, on YouTube and Facebook of “Padre Teodoro”)

Community comes together

CARTHAGE – With approximately 80 families affect in the parish of St. Anne, the community and those touched by the plight around the country are coming together to face coming challenges brouch on by the ICE raids on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
St. Anne Carthage has been collecting food and supplies to distribute to families directly impacted by the raids until the community stabilizes.
When visiting for assistance, those affect have been able to meet with attorneys to help guide them through the legal process.
Father Odel Medina is worried about how the families will survive and belies it could take up to six months before affected families find work again.

Cartaghe – photos by Joanna King

Forest – photos by Rebecca Haris

ICE raids – how to help click here

Bishops of four Mississippi churches condemn ICE raid, roundup of workers

By Catholic News Service
JACKSON – Mississippi’s Catholic bishops joined with the state’s Episcopal, Methodist and Lutheran bishops in condemning the Trump administration’s Aug. 7 raid on seven food processing plants in the state to round up workers in the country illegally.
Such raids “only serve to … cause the unacceptable suffering of thousands of children and their parents, and create widespread panic in our communities,” the religious leaders said in an Aug. 9 statement quoting Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, from a July letter he sent to President Donald Trump.
“We, the undersigned, condemn such an approach, which, as he (Cardinal DiNardo) rightly states, ‘has created a climate of fear in our parishes and communities across the United States,’” they said.
Signing the statement were Catholic Bishops Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson and Louis F. Kihneman III of Biloxi; Episcopal Bishop Brian R. Seage of Mississippi; Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church; and Bishop H. Julian Gordy, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Southeastern Synod.
In what is the biggest sweep in a decade, ICE arrested and detained nearly 680 people. About 300 were released that evening; another 380 people remained in custody.
“These are not new laws, nor is the enforcement of them new,” ICE’s acting director, Matt Albence, said in a statement Aug. 7. “The arrests today were the result of a yearlong criminal investigation. And the arrests and warrants that were executed today are just another step in that investigation.”
He said the employers could be charged with knowingly hiring workers who are in the county illegally and will be probed for tax, document and wage fraud, Albence said.
Investigators told The New York Post daily newspaper that six of the seven processing plants were “willfully and unlawfully employing illegal aliens;” many of the workers used false names and had fake Social Security numbers, according to the newspaper.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Aug. 11, Albence acknowledged the timing of the sweep “was unfortunate,” coming just days after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, where the alleged shooter said he was targeting Hispanics.
In their joint statement, the Mississippi bishops wrote: “To say that immigration reform is a contentious and complex topic would be an understatement.”
“As Christians, within any disagreement we should all be held together by our baptismal promises. Our baptism, regardless of denomination calls us to unity in Jesus Christ,” they said. “We are his body and, therefore, called to act in love as a unified community for our churches and for the common good of our local communities and nation.”
They also said their churches stand ready to assist immigrants with their immediate needs following the ICE raid.
“We can stand in solidarity to provide solace, material assistance, and strength for the separated and traumatized children, parents and families,” the bishops said. “Of course, we are committed to a just and compassionate reform to our nation’s immigration system, but there is an urgent and critical need at this time to avoid a worsening crisis.”
Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Jackson was directly assisting families and also was accepting donations for its outreach at https://catholiccharitiesjackson.org.
In other reaction to the ICE sweep in Mississippi, Lawrence E. Couch, director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, called the enforcement actions “outrageous” and “out of order in this land of freedom and welcome.”
He called on the Trump administration to release all the workers.
“The United States government is becoming increasingly heavy-handed in its tactics and is becoming increasingly less recognizable to its citizens and all peoples around the world,” Couch said. “Why has the current administration declared war on our neighbors who are helping to put food on our tables?”
He called the ICE raid “part of a malicious campaign to paint immigrants as criminals and rapists who have ‘invaded’ our country.”
The workers who were arrest “had no criminal record,” he said. “Many have lived and worked in the United States for several years. This action has created a catastrophe for the families and is spreading fear throughout the immigrant community. Children were left homeless and traumatized by having their parents torn from them. It is unknown if some children remain alone.”
Instead of arresting “these hardworking people (who) have lived and worked in our country for many years, raised their families, and contributed their talents and resources to our communities,” Couch added, they should be given a path to citizenship.
Other Catholic agencies offering help to the families in need in Mississippi after the arrest of their breadwinner include Chicago-based Catholic Extension, which announced Aug. 8 it would send help immediately but also would begin fundraising through its “Holy Family Fund,” https://bit.ly/2ZEO7mK.
Catholic Extension is the leading national supporter of missionary work in poor and remote parts of the United States. The Jackson Diocese, one of the poorest in the country, has long been supported by the organization, including some of it parishes in towns where the raids took place.

To read Joint Statement of Bishop Kopacz, Kihneman, Seage, Swanson and Gordy click here

Parish holds solidarity vigil for immigrant families

By Joanna Puddister King
FOREST – Religious, labor, immigrant rights leaders and supporters joined together for a solidarity prayer vigil to support the workers and local rural immigrant communities on Saturday, Aug. 17 at St. Michael parish.
Founding member of Priests for Justice for Immigrants and advisor at Dominican University in Chicago, Father Brendan Curran presided over the event, offering words of love and encouragement, as well as translating immigrant’s stories.
On behalf of Sacred Heart Canton, Director of Hispanic Ministry, Blanca Rosa Peralta thanked those present for their support of all the affected parishes. In her native tongue, she told the crowd about a trip to the ICE facility in Louisiana to pick up a detained mother, who had been separated from her children. Quickly, the thought of celebrating her release was dashed, as the mother’s “heart was destroyed” by the thought of all the other mothers still separated from their children. There was “too much of a depth of sorrow,” translated Father Curran. But Peralta insisted that the Catholic “faith community is great” and applauded efforts of those who are working so tirelessly to serve those in need.

Several of those present at the prayer vigil got up and courageously shared their stories of being detained in the ICE raids that struck the community. One young mother, with an ankle bracelet monitoring her location, spoke of both her and her husband being detained and expressed that she “didn’t think going to work was criminal.”
One gentleman shared that while he was not affected by the raids, he felt that the immigrant community was torn apart by racism. Out of work since last month after being beat severely and injured to the point he could no longer work; his family has been struggling.
Another shared that the raids affected not just those detained, but even those who were in the country legally, as many were laid off by the companies, so that they would not have to deal with the challenges of employing immigrants.
Rodger Doolittle and Milton Thompson with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1529 offered their support to those affected by the ICE raids. Doolittle said that he has “never seen a raid this bad. It’s an injury to everyone.”
“The Local 1529 stands behind every worker in this community,” stated Doolittle, as he then pledged $45,000 worth of donated food and supplies, such as diapers, bottles and school supplies to aid in all affected communities.
Daisey Martínez, parishioner at St. Martin Hazlehurst, shared that the raids brought back so many feelings for her, as her mother had been detained many years ago. Martínez offered her support to those affected and urged others that if you “know people who need help. Do it and give freely.”
“God lets light shine and shows us something positive,” said Martínez. “Help is coming from all over the country.”

Springfield Dominican Sister Kelly Moline renews vows

By Sister Beth Murphy, OP
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Springfield Dominican Sister Kelly Moline renewed her profession of vows during Solemn Evening Prayer at Sacred Heart Convent yesterday, August 5, 2019.
Surrounded by her Springfield Dominican Sisters, she pronounced, for the second time, the ancient formula of Dominican profession that every member of the Order of Preachers makes.
Born in Minneapolis, Sister Kelly and her brother Jay were raised there by their parents, Kevin and Cindy Moline, who now live in Glendale, Arizona.
Sister Kelly is a chaplain at St. Dominic’s Hospital, Jackson, Miss., and an active member of the young adult group at St. Richard Parish there. She also participates in Giving Voice, a peer-led organization for the small but increasing number of women who are choosing religious life.
Before joining the Dominicans, Sister Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in gerontology from Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo. She worked in continuing care retirement communities in St. Louis and Southbury, Conn., before taking a job in Springfield that synced her coordinates with several Springfield Dominican Sisters and led to her decision to pursue consecrated religious life as her vocation.
The private ceremony was a next step in Sister Kelly’s ongoing discernment of a life-long commitment to consecrated life as a Dominican Sister of Springfield. “We are blessed to call Sister Kelly our sister and look forward to her continued ministry among us as she grows toward her decision about perpetual profession in the Order of Preachers,” said Sister Barbara Blesse, OP, the director of sisters in temporary vows for the Springfield Dominicans. “This next two-year period of profession allows Sister Kelly and our sisters to continue mutual discernment of her readiness and desire for perpetual profession of vows.”
This period of initial formation, Sister Kelly says, fits with her desire for deep discernment about the way God is calling her. “Formation is structured to help me continue my spiritual and professional growth in an atmosphere of freedom and encouragement,” Sister Kelly said. “I look forward to the adventures that await me as I continue my discernment and my ministry at St. Dominic’s.” Unique among religious orders, Dominicans pronounce only one vow—obedience—which is inclusive of the other two evangelical counsels: poverty, and celibacy. Below is a recent reflection by Sister Kelly on what it means to be grounded in these vows. It is also available online at www.springfieldop.org.
Catholic women interested in discerning God’s call in their own lives are welcome to contact Sister Denise Glazik, OP, director of vocation ministry for the Springfield Dominican Sisters, or visit www.springfieldop.org/join-us for background information about what it takes to become a Dominican sister. Sister Denise may be reached through the website or at 217-787-0481.

Dominican Sisters leadership in solidarity with victims of ICE Raids

Call for compassion, understanding and end to practices that create fear

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – “In recognition of the rights and dignity of children and families frightened and separated during the ICE raids on Aug. 7,” the leadership of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, “cry out” in solidarity compassion, and support.
The sisters offer their solidarity to all those affected by the raids and “those who are living in fear,” the statement says. “We hope that you and your families can feel the support of our prayers.
Springfield Dominican Sisters have ministered in Mississippi for more than 70 years. Their ministry, St. Dominic Health Services, was recently transferred July 1, 2019, to the sponsorship of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Eight Dominican sisters continue to live and serve in Jackson.

The statement, issued from the congregation’s Illinois-based leadership, asks that “all people of good will in Mississippi” acknowledge that the trauma created by a broken immigration system “unravels the bond of our common humanity and weakens the foundation of trust” essential to every Mississippian’s well-being and safety.
“At the foundation of our desire for a more just immigration policy is gospel-based Catholic Social Teaching,” said Sister Rebecca Ann Gemma, prioress general of the Springfield Dominican Sisters. “The United States Catholic Bishops have very clear guidelines on this.”
For access to resources from the bishops and other helpful materials for those accompanying immigrants anywhere in the U.S., visit springfieldop.org/immigration-resources.
The sisters encourage donations of time, expertise and financial assistance to one of two Mississippi-based organizations. Donations may be made through Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Jackson or through a coalition of Mississippi organizations responding to the needs of immigrant families, which includes the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA), and the MacArthur Center for Justice at the University of Mississippi.
The coalition includes the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA), and the MacArthur Center for Justice at the University of Mississippi.
For more than 800 years, Dominicans have preached the Gospel in word and deed. The Dominican Sisters of Springfield, established in 1873, are part of a worldwide Dominican family, the Order of Preachers. Today, thousands of Dominican sisters, nuns, priests, brothers, associates and laity minister in more than 100 countries around the world. To learn more about the Dominican Sisters of Springfield visit springfieldop.org.

Degree program delves into Catholic thought, perspective on human rights

By Elizabeth Bachmann
WASHINGTON (CNS) – This fall, five graduate students will embark on a unique, one-year journey back to the origins of thought on human nature.
They will study natural law and natural rights, anthropology, international law, religious liberty, global politics and papal encyclicals, emerging from the program with a fully formed, Catholic understanding of human rights and a zeal to defend and explain these rights.
The Institute for Human Ecology at The Catholic University of America is offering this master of arts degree in human rights for the first time in the fall of 2019. The program, headed and organized by William Saunders, lawyer and longtime human rights scholar and activist, is interdisciplinary, drawing classes from five of Catholic University’s schools.
“Now is the time for this, because we need people who can help us think clearly about human rights to be part of this conversation,” Saunders told Catholic News Service. “Any ordinary person on the street would be in favor of human rights, but if you ask, ‘What are human rights?’ they don’t know.”
According to Saunders, the master’s program will provide students with a holistic understanding of the underlying philosophy that governing the accepted lists of human rights, and explaining their purpose.
For Saunders, documents such as the 1948 U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other assertions of rights are mere laundry lists without the Catholic understanding. Without a unifying understanding, Saunders says that it becomes easy to tack “rights” on like a wish list, without any consideration of whether they fit the definition of a true human right.
“What’s missing is a coherent philosophical understanding of why these rights are recognized. Catholic tradition supplies that, and helps you to think about it in a way that will be congruent to Catholicism,” Saunders said. “Because the Catholic perspective is not just a theological thing. It is a hard tradition of reason as well.”
The program will prepare students for any number of careers, from nonprofit relief organizations, to nongovernmental organizations, to Capitol Hill committees, to the private sector, according to Saunders.
“So far as we know, there is no other university offering (a masters of arts in human rights) from the uniquely Catholic perspective,” Saunders said. “Things like natural law, papal encyclicals, human anthropology, and theological anthropology are a part of it. There are a number of masters of arts in human rights, but not from this perspective, and certainly not in the nation’s capital, where you can so easily get involved.”
Some of the central courses include philosophy of natural right and natural law, Christian anthropology, public international law, international human rights and religious liberty.
Saunders emphasized that the program is neither exclusively for Catholics, nor any kind of Catholic conversion machine. He cited St. John Paul II’s encyclicals, in which he often engaged with people of goodwill who were not Catholic, but desired to understand the rich Catholic teaching on human rights issues.
“Natural rights are not disguised Catholic theology,” Saunders said. “They are just based on the idea that we share some things as human beings, and if we find those things out, we can figure out an answer to Aristotle’s question: How can we order our lives?”
Bradley Lewis, associate professor of philosophy at Catholic University, will teach two of the foundational classes for the program: “The Philosophy of Natural Rights and Natural Law” and “Morality and Law.”
He explained that Catholic thought is historically enmeshed in human rights decisions.
“If you go to the beginning of modern human rights projects, a lot of people involved in promoting human rights in the late 1940s and 1950s were Christians and, in many cases, Catholic,” Lewis said. “This approach is something that we have had within the Catholic world, and, at a certain point, it was lost and fell out of discussion. We want to put it back in.”

Father Columba Stewart to deliver the 2019 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities

WASHINGTON, D.C.— On July 18, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) issued a press release after Fr. Columba’s nomination saying “Father Columba Stewart, OSB, Benedictine monk, scholar of early religions and executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, will deliver the 2019 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities.”
The NEH has this lecture as the “highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. The NEH, a federal agency created in 1965, selects the lecturer through a formal review process that includes nominations from the general public.
Stewart will deliver the lecture, titled “Cultural Heritage Present and Future: A Benedictine Monk’s Long View,” on Monday, October 7, at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public and will stream online at neh.gov.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Father Columba Stewart. (Photo courtesy Hill Museum and Manuscript Library)

‘‘A ‘Monument Man’ of our time, Father Columba Stewart has dauntlessly rescued centuries’ worth of irreplaceable cultural heritage under threat from around the world,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.
Stating that he was ‘deeply humbled” by his selection, Stewart replied, “It is an extraordinary moment in our nation’s intellectual life and one in which a keener sense of the wisdom and experience of the past, critically interpreted, has much to offer.’
Dubbed ‘the monk who saves manuscripts from ISIS,’ by Atlantic magazine, Stewart has spent 15 years working with international religious leaders, government authorities and archivists to photograph and digitize ancient to early-modern religious manuscripts, especially those at risk due to war, strife or economic uncertainty.
Stewart has traveled to the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and South Asia to partner with local communities to photograph historic handwritten books and documents in their original context. His work has taken him to some of the world’s most volatile regions.
Since becoming executive director of HMML in 2003, Stewart has striven to make these documents available to a wide public, aided in part by grants from the NEH. In 2015 HMML launched an online reading room to give visitors access to the library’s growing digitized collection of more than 250,000 handwritten books and 50 million handwritten pages, the world’s largest digital collection of ancient manuscripts.
Stewart professed vows as a monk at Saint John’s Abbey in 1982 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1990. Much of his work in preserving ancient religious texts is informed by Benedictine tradition. A scholar of early Christian monasticism, Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard University, a master’s in religious studies from Yale University, and a D.Phil. in theology from Oxford University. Stewart has published extensively on ancient Christianity, monasticism, and manuscript culture, including Working the Earth of the Heart: the Messalian Controversy in History, Texts and Language to 431, Cassian the Monk, Prayer and Community: the Benedictine Tradition, a wide range of essays and articles and is working on his current book, Between Earth and Heaven.
The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities is the NEH agency’s signature annual public event. Past Jefferson Lecturers include Rita Charon, Martha C. Nussbaum, Ken Burns, Walter Isaacson, Wendell Berry, Drew Gilpin Faust, John Updike, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Toni Morrison, Barbara Tuchman, and Robert Penn Warren. The lectureship carries a $10,000 honorarium, set by statute.”
You can find the complete text of the Press Release on NEH’s website and can follow it on social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @NEHgov | #jefflec19

Los migrantes son personas, no un problema social

Por Junno Arocho Esteves
CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (CNS) – Los cristianos están llamados a seguir el espíritu de las bienaventuranzas, a consolar a los pobres y oprimidos, especialmente a los migrantes y refugiados que son rechazados, explotados, dijo el papa Francisco.
Los más pequeños, “personas descartadas, marginadas, oprimidas, discriminadas, abusadas, explotadas, abandonadas, pobres y sufrientes” claman a Dios, “pidiendo ser liberados de los males que los afligen”, dijo el papa en su homilía del 8 de julio, durante una Misa..
“¡Son personas, no se trata solo de cuestiones sociales o migratorias! No se trata solo de migrantes, en el doble sentido de que los migrantes son antes que nada seres humanos, y que hoy son el símbolo de todos los descartados de la sociedad globalizada”, dijo el papa.
Según cifras citadas por el Vaticano, aproximadamente 250 migrantes, refugiados y voluntarios de rescate asistieron a la Misa, que se celebró en el altar de la cátedra en la Basílica de San Pedro.

A migrant and her daughter rest outside Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, July 14, 2019. As part of the legal proceedings under a new policy established by the U.S. government, they were returned to Mexico from the United States to await their court hearing for asylum. (CNS photo/Jose Luis Gonzalez, Reuters)

En su homilía, el papa reflexionó sobre la primera lectura del libro de Génesis en la que Jacob soñaba con una escalera que conducía al cielo “y los mensajeros de Dios subían y bajaban sobre ella”.
A diferencia de la Torre de Babel, que fue el intento de la humanidad de alcanzar el cielo y convertirse en dioses, la escalera en el sueño de Jacob fue el medio por el cual el Señor desciende a la humanidad y “se revela a sí mismo; es Dios quien salva”, explicó el papa.
“El Señor es un refugio para los fieles, que lo invocan en tiempos de tribulación”, dijo. “Porque es precisamente en esos momentos que nuestra oración se vuelve más pura, cuando nos damos cuenta que la seguridad que ofrece el mundo tiene poco valor y solo Dios permanece.. Solo Dios salva”.
La lectura del Evangelio de San Mateo, que recuerda a Jesús curando a una mujer enferma y resucitando a una niña de entre los muertos, también revela “la necesidad de una opción preferencial para los más pequeños, aquellos a quienes se les debe dar la primera fila en el ejercicio de la caridad”.
“Son los últimos, engañados y abandonados para morir en el desierto; son los últimos, torturados, maltratados y violados en los campos de detención; son los últimos, que desafían las olas de un mar despiadado; son los últimos dejados en campos de una acogida que es demasiado larga para ser llamada temporal,” dijo.
El papa Francisco dijo que la imagen de la escalera de Jacob representa la conexión entre el cielo y la tierra que está “garantizada y accesible para todos”. Sin embargo, subir esos pasos requiere “compromiso, esfuerzo y gracia…Me gustaría pensar, entonces, que podríamos ser nosotros aquellos ángeles que suben y bajan, tomando bajo el brazo a …los últimos, que de otra manera se quedarían atrás y verían solo las miserias de la tierra, sin descubrir ya desde este momento algún resplandor del cielo,” dijo.