The Auxiliary Bishop of Denver, Jorge Rodriguez, will celebrate a Mass in Spanish for all immigrants and refugees at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Nov. 26, on the feast of Christ the King.
The Church walks with the immigrant
Bishop Rodriguez affirmed that the growing attention that the archdiocese has given to immigrants is primarily a response to Jesus’ calling in the Gospel.
“Holy Scripture is very clear about the care and hospitality toward the immigrant,” he told the Denver Catholic en Español. “‘The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt’ (Lev. 19:34). Also, Jesus commanded us to do the same when he called us to love our neighbor.”
The urgency to walk with the immigrant community is also a response to Pope Francis’ invitation. He said in his visit to the United States in 2015, “Now you are facing this stream of Latin immigration which affects many of your dioceses. Not only as the Bishop of Rome, but also as a pastor from the South, I feel the need to thank and encourage you. Perhaps it will not be easy for you to look into their soul; perhaps you will be challenged by their diversity. But know that they also possess resources meant to be shared. So, do not be afraid to welcome them.”
“No, we don’t have financial or secondary intentions, as someone has said – probably intending to silence the voice of bishops regarding the support for the immigrant community,” Bishop Rodriguez explained. Instead, “[this initiative] is born out of our personal love for our immigrant brothers and sisters in our parishes.”
On the Feast of Christ the King
The Mass will be celebrated on the feast of Christ the King, highlighting the historical significance this feast carries for many Hispanics. During the religious persecution of last century’s “Cristero” War, many Mexicans gave up their lives proclaiming, “¡Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ, the King!”).
“This chapter in history allows us to recall God, the Father’s providential care for each one of us, and the assurance that the final victory belongs to Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Rodriguez.
The auxiliary bishop sees the importance of this message of hope to the immigrant community, as it faces many difficulties in legal processes.
He assured that the trials aren’t few: “many of our youth see their future dreams threatened… siblings and friends, who came to work honestly, face deportation… [and] parents, couples and families are torn apart.”
Amid such difficulties, the Church accompanies the immigrant community.
“We want to lift up the intentions of the immigrant community in this Mass,” said Bishop Rodriguez. “For the Psalm says, ‘Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (37:5).
Bishop Rodriguez calls the faithful to participate
The auxiliary bishop asked all the faithful to “listen, in the depth of their hearts, to the voice of Christ: ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you’” (Jn 13: 34).
“The Church doesn’t ask the faithful to break the law,” he continued. “Rather, it asks for a just law to be passed – a law that serves men and not vice versa.”
He requested that Denver Catholics support the U.S. bishops in the fight for a comprehensive immigration reform.
Bishop Rodriguez also persuaded the faithful to seek accurate information regarding these topics, and to find good perspectives on social issues, such as Msgr. Jose Gomez’s “Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation.”
Finally, he encouraged them “to consider this ‘problem’ not as a mere social, political or economical issue: we are speaking of men and women with human dignity and fundamental rights,” he said. “They are beloved children of God.”
Mass for Immigrants and Refugees
Presided by Bishop Jorge Rodriguez
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Nov. 26, 2017