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Locals complete pilgrimage for immigration reform

Kayla Mullen | Thursday, November 14, 2013

Two local parishes honored the feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants, by organizing a pilgrimage from St. Adalbert’s Our Lady of Hungary parish to the Hesburgh Center at Notre Dame.

Jesus Rivera, a parishioner of St. Adalbert’s, said members from these parishes met at St. Adalbert’s, drove to St. Joseph’s together, and then began the fifty-minute walk to Notre Dame. He said they recited the rosary and sang along the way.

The group was welcomed to Notre Dame with food, music and prayer, Rivera said. Juan Rangel, chief of staff for Notre Dame Student Government said Rivera, the Notre Dame Institute for Latino Studies, Notre Dame students, and the Notre Dame Student Government collaborated to plan the event.

“The goal of [the pilgrimage] is to place attention back on passing comprehensive immigration reform by using our strong Catholic faith to guide us in our walk,“Rangelsaid.

He believes most of the parishioners of St. Adalbert’s are undocumented immigrants, making immigration reform a topic close to their hearts, Rivera said.

“Things have changed [in regards to immigration]. We have made some progress, yes, but there are still some things that still need to be fixed. The justice piece of it is where we’re heading. Respect and dignity should be for everyone. …We hear the cries of the families. So many times we have heard of families torn apart. It becomes real at St. Adalbert’s,”Rivera said.

Sean Long, co-president of College Democrats, said he sees immigration reform as more than a policy issue.

“It’s a moral issue.  And we believe that a Catholic university like Notre Dame can play a leading role in making immigration reform a pillar on college campuses nationwide,”Long said.

Long said a phone bank organized by the Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy and Notre Dame’s College Democrats occurred at the same time as the pilgrimage. He said members of both organizations participated in making calls to Rep. Jackie Walorski [R-IN-2] to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

Long said the phone bank was originally scheduled for next week, but they pushed it back to Wednesday at the suggestion of Faith in Public Life. According to their website, Faith in Public Life (FPL) is a strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good.

The phone bank event included performances by Coro Primavera and MariachiND, Long said.

After the participants finished their calls, they helped to welcome the parishioners in from their pilgrimage, Rivera said. Together, students and parishioners attended the first event in the “Transformative Latino Leadership Lecture Series.” Carlos Eire, a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University delivered the lecture.

The two events united in their goals of advocating for immigration reform legislation, in honor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Long said.

Contact Kayla Mullen at kmullen2@nd.edu