Published on March 20, 2018
In September of 2017, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) launched the “Share the Journey” campaign, which seeks to bring together the global community to support the plight of immigrants, refugees and all those who are forced to flee their homes due to persecution, violence and war.
In light of this effort and the current political climate, faith leaders in New Orleans banded together to bring peace, unity and understanding to the community.
Organized by Father Buddy Noel, the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ ecumenical officer, and countless other community leaders from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds, a large crowd gathered at the Hispanic Apostolate on Sunday, February 25 for an Interfaith Prayer Service in solidarity with immigrants and refugees.
The service began with a traditional fan dance. Then, religious and ethnic leaders from around the community processed past attendees of all ages, races, backgrounds and faiths to the altar. There, Archbishop Aymond addressed the crowd, reminding them we are all children of God: one family, all beautiful and perfect in His eyes.
Archbishop Aymond called all those present to remember in their prayers the migrants and refugees affected by the current legal uncertainties.
Prayers were read in different languages from different holy books. Each reflected the theme of all gathered being equal and important in God’s eyes and the need for each to welcome others into our hearts and into our communities. Then, a young man made his way to the podium.
Jose, a Catholic Charities Immigration Services client, made the arduous journey from Honduras to the United States alone when he was only ten years old. After years of working and living alone, he decided he needed a support system and turned to Catholic Charities. CCANO Immigration Services staff helped him obtain the one thing he’d been dreaming of most: his legal status.
Now, Jose wanted to share his story to show that there is a way to achieve your dreams and thank those who’d helped him achieve his.
Father David Caron, Director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Evangelization, and Sr. Marjorie Hebert, MSC, President and CEO of Catholic Charities, read a poem about refugees. The service ended with a prayer and a call for unity.
A big thank you to everyone involved in planning and executing such a meaningful event, including CCANO Division Director Martin Gutierrez!