In less than 48 hours, a group of Catholic bishops saw the faces of triumph and relief from migrants who had been recently released by immigration authorities, but ended their two-day journey to the border with a more “somber” experience, visiting detained migrant children living temporarily within the walls of a converted Walmart.
During a news conference after the second and last day of their visit on 2nd July, they stressed the “urgent” need to do something to help the migrant children.
“The children who are separated from their parents need to be reunited. That’s already begun and it’s certainly not finished and there may be complications, but it must be done and it’s urgent,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president, celebrated Mass in Spanish with about 250 children at the facility on what once was the loading dock of the superstore.
“It was, as you can imagine, very challenging to see the children by themselves,” Archbishop Gomez said during the news conference. “Obviously, when there are children at Mass, they are with their parents and families…but it was special to be with them and give them some hope.”
He said he spoke to them about the importance of helping one another.
Picture: Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pa., left, and Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Rockville Centre, N.Y., talk to a member of the media following a 2nd July news conference at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle in San Juan, Texas. During the news conference, the bishops told reporters about the detention centre for immigrants they visited earlier in the day in Brownsville, Texas. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth).