Skip to comments.Archbishop Wenski brightens Christmas for Krome detainees
Posted on 12/27/2010 6:30:29 AM PST by jacknhoo
Archbishop Wenski brightens Christmas for Krome detainees BY DANIEL SHOER ROTH dshoer@ElNuevoHerald.com
ROBERTO KOLTUN/EL NUEVO HERALD The Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski prays after Christmas day mass at Krome Detention Center in Miami-Dade Saturday. Jesus Christ was born in a humble stable because there was no place for him at the inn. And later, according to Christian scripture, Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with the baby, seeking refuge from King Herod's decree to kill all newborns. That was the Christmas tale Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski presented Saturday to 150 undocumented immigrants at the Krome detention center, using the Bible narrative as a metaphor for the immigrants' travails.
``We are sure Joseph was not delayed trying to obtain a visa to cross the border,'' said Wenski, who officiated at an emotional Mass in Spanish, English and Creole. ``That is why we can say that Jesus was a refugee and an undocumented immigrant.''
It wasn't an unexpected message. Wenski, son of a Polish immigrant, has focused his ministry on immigrants during more than 35 years as a priest in Florida's Catholic Church. He has officiated at hundreds of Masses at Krome, but this was his first since Pope Benedict XVI named him archbishop of Miami.
``It's a gesture of solidarity, so that they know they are not alone,'' said Wenski, who arrived at Krome, in West Miami-Dade, on his motorcycle at 8 a.m. wearing black jeans. ``If God can make himself present at a manger in Bethlehem, he can make himself present here.''
The Mass, held in the detention center mess hall, was part of the Archdiocesan Office of Detention Ministry, which operates at 34 local, state and federal correctional facilities across South Florida. Seven priests, 12 deacons and 250 volunteers participate.
``Amid suffering, every one who enters a prison remembers God,'' said deacon Edgardo Farías, the ministry director. ``Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, all remember their roots and ask to be visited by chaplains of their own faith.''
Yet it is extraordinary to see an archbishop doing this kind of work, said Marc Moore, director of law enforcement for the Miami field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
``We are delighted with his visit,'' Moore said.
Even more delighted were the detainees, dressed in orange or red jumpsuits depending on their criminal record. Though most of them face deportation, for 90 minutes they were able to put aside their troubles to smile and applaud.
Besides a message of hope, Wenski brought them a pleasant time with his good sense of humor.
``I am Archbishop Thomas Wenski and I am glad to be with you on Christmas Day,'' he told them. ``You will not forget my name. All you have to do is think of drinking whiskey,'' he quipped, referring to the Spanish ``tomas whiskey,'' which means ``you drink whiskey.''
That was enough to break the ice, brightening the faces of detainees who had looked exhausted and bored. Many held Bibles and lyric sheets for the Mass hymns, though some knew their prayers by heart.
The archbishop wanted to know where the detainees were from. ``Nigeria'', shouted someone. ``Trinidad,'' another voice said. The majority were Haitian and Hispanic, from countries including Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia.
Alfonso Pioquinto, a 36-year-old Mexican in Krome for seven weeks, said at the end of the Mass that he felt less depressed. Despite being away from his family and surrounded by a wire fence, the ceremony -- and Wenski's message -- eased his pain.
``Many of us didn't know that Jesus was an undocumented immigrant,'' Pioquinto said. ``Now we know that he understands us.''
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/12/25/v-print/1988640/archbishop-wenski-brightens-christmas.html#ixzz19JzEQMIF
34But let him be among you as one of the same country: and you shall love him as yourselves: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Very nice. I’ve heard good things about Abp. Wenski, who is very orthodox and evidently very hardworking.
Our first bishop, Bp. Agustin Verot, was bishop of Savannah before he was assigned to St Augustine. That was during the Civil War, and he used to make the journey to visit the prisoners at Andersonville, even though he was on the side of the Confederacy and the Union prisoners were not popular. But he heard confessions, consoled people, and also baptized many of them.
``Many of us didn’t know that Jesus was an undocumented immigrant,’’
I guess someone would have to research the immigration policy and requirements of Egypt at that time to see if Jesus and family violated any laws. But I do doubt that upon entering Egypt they demanded free health care, housing assistance, free education, food assistance, and to have all of this provided in a linguistically and culturally sensitive manner.
With all due respect to the Archbishop it seems a stretch to compare the plight of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to the vast numbers of illegal aliens that continue to stream across our poorly protected borders....especially with those who are incarcerated.
I thought that Mary and Joseph just moved from one part of the Roman Empire to another.
That's because it's a lie.
The substance of your response is brilliant.
Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants. The most appropriate choice, which will yield consistent and long-lasting results is that of international cooperation which aims to foster political stability and to eliminate underdevelopment. The present economic and social imbalance, which to a large extent encourages the migratory flow, should not be seen as something inevitable, but as a challenge to the human race's sense of responsibility.
Thus it is important to help illegal migrants to complete the necessary administrative papers to obtain a residence permit.
Social and charitable institutions can make contact with the authorities in order to seek appropriate, lawful solutions to various cases. This kind of effort should be made especially on behalf of those who, after a long stay, are so deeply rooted in the local society that returning to their country of origin would be tantamount to a form of reverse emigration, with serious consequences particularly for the children.
4. When no solution is foreseen, these same institutions should direct those they are helping, perhaps also providing them with material assistance, either to seek acceptance in other countries, or to return to their own country.
In the search for a solution to the problem of migration in general and illegal migrants in particular, the attitude of the host society has an important role to play. In this perspective, it is very important that public opinion be properly informed about the true situation in the migrants’ country of origin, about the tragedies involving them and the possible risks of returning. The poverty and misfortune with which immigrants are stricken are yet another reason for coming generously to their aid.
It is necessary to guard against the rise of new forms of racism or xenophobic behavior, which attempt to make these brothers and sisters of ours scapegoats for what may be difficult local situations.
Due to the considerable proportions reached by the illegal migrant phenomenon, legislation in all the countries involved should be brought into harmony, also for a more equitable distribution of the burdens of a balanced solution. It is necessary to avoid recourse to the use of administrative regulations, meant to restrict the criterion of family membership, which result in unjustifiably forcing into an illegal situation people whose right to live with their family cannot be denied by any law.
Adequate protection should be guaranteed to those who, although they have fled from their countries for reasons unforeseen by international conventions, could indeed be seriously risking their life were they obliged to return to their homeland.
THE CHURCH AND ILLEGAL IMMMIGRATION
Pope John Paul II
Annual Message for World Migration Day 1996 given July 25, 1995
Jospeh and Mary moved from one Roman possession to another. It was all the same empire and Joseph didn’t rob, rape and murder Egyptians when he got there and he got no welfare but worked for everything he got.
It’s not a lie. Mary and Joseph had to flee to Egypt to avoid the Christ Child being killed by Herod. He was an undocumented refugee in Egypt from his homeland of Israel.
Do you want the Bible lines?
When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.
When Herod had died, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt and said,
Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,
for those who sought the childs life are dead.
He rose, took the child and his mother,
and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea
in place of his father Herod,
he was afraid to go back there.
And because he had been warned in a dream,
he departed for the region of Galilee.
He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,
so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled,
He shall be called a Nazorean.
"Undocumented refugee"? Oh, that's rich. I didn't know they had passports and green cards back then.
Bwahahahahahahahaha! It won't be hard for a room full of hispanic illegals to imagine drinking whiskey.
Trying to fit 2000 years ago into 2000 years later as being the same thing does not work. These folks should really direct their prayers and concerns to their own countries, if they want to do some good in the world. Back in that time period, there were no illegals on the roads driving drunk causing hit and run accidents and fleeing, leaving folks behind hurt or deceased.This is a whole different world.
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