Dear Andrew Benson,
On July 18th, inside the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda, 70 Catholic leaders locked arms in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in an effort to put pressure on the Administration and to end the immoral and inhumane treatment of immigrant children held in detention. Over 100 Catholic organizations sponsored the Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children which brought together more than 200 Catholic sisters, priests, brothers and lay Catholic advocates who sang, prayed, and chanted as they held banners and signs demanding “Stop the Inhumanity.” This action is the beginning of a campaign in which Catholic leaders are increasing their willingness to take significant risks as an act of faithful resistance.
The Franciscan Action Network and the entire Franciscan family were instrumental in planning the event as together we advocated for children at the border both here in Washington, D.C. and across the country. Some highlights:
- Three FAN staff members, a Franciscan friar, and two Secular Franciscans were among 70 Catholics arrested in the Russell Rotunda, while a number of other Franciscans participated in the prayer ritual outside with hundreds in prayerful solidarity. You can view photos of the event here as well as video of civil disobedience here. And be sure to check out additional news coverage from the Washington Post, Catholic News Agency, and EWTN.
- Franciscan communities and individuals flooded the White House comment line with phone calls, posted on social media, and wrote to their members of Congress.
- The Poor Clares and Carmelites in Italy sent an open letter to the Italian President and Prime Minister “to give voice to our brothers and sisters migrants fleeing from war, persecution and famine…” Read the letter here
- Several S. Catholic bishops including Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv. sent us statements of support for our day of action.
- FAN board president, Mike Lasky, OFM Conv. was with Conventual Franciscan Friars in formation at our southern border. They spoke to some sisters and brothers through the new border fence west of El Paso.
- Franciscan friars and friends joined Lights for Liberty vigils all over the country on July 12th to say “Enough!” to the inhumane treatment of our migrant sisters and brothers in detention camps. Here are photos from Phoenix, Santa Barbara, CA and Douglas, AZ.
FAN Institutional Members, the Holy Cross Sisters in Wisconsin have taken out a billboard in Merrill, WI depicting a family behind a fence with the words, “With liberty and justice for all” printed. It’s slated to post in August.
We want to thank all of our members and friends who reached out to us last week about our day of action. Your prayers of support were felt among the 70 arrested and the hundreds gathered to rally at the Capitol. We heard from Franciscans all over the country who are turning their faith into action: Our hearts are full of gratitude to God and to all those who helped make the day a success. We look forward to more actions in support of our immigrant sisters and brothers, especially the children.
Together, as an entire Franciscan family we can speak out against the inhumanity at the border and advocate to end immigrant child detention.
Peace and All Good,
FAN Executive Director
|“Migrants are persons… They are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society… The weakest and most vulnerable must be helped… This is a tremendous responsibility, from which no one is exempt if we wish to fulfill the mission of salvation and liberation, in which the Lord himself has called us to cooperate.” – Pope Francis, July 8, 2019|
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