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CURRENT ISSUE:  April 12, 2010
VOL. 48, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Immigration reform advocates press for change
Cardinal Levada responds to NY Times pope stories
Catholics asked to weigh in on future of Catholic schools in diocese
Local Catholics join efforts to pass
just reform of immigration laws

Members of Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organizations rally for immigration reform during a March 24 march in San Francisco.
josé luis aguirre photo

East Bay Catholics are among a growing number of advocates across the nation who are mobilizing for comprehensive immigration reform. Spurred on by support from Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone and the efforts of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, they are meeting with legislators, holding rallies, sponsoring workshops and sending postcards to Congress.

Father Ramiro Flores, parochial administrator of St. Mark Parish in Richmond, applauds during the March 24 immigration march in San Francisco.
josé luis aguirre photo
Hundreds of parishioners in churches affiliated with Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR) in south Alameda County planned to march from St. Joachim Church in Hayward to St. John Church in San Lorenzo on April 10 to show support for immigration reform and to urge Congressman Pete Stark to take a leadership role in making such reform a priority. It was expected to be the first major march on immigration in the Hayward area.

At Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Brentwood, a March 16 workshop gave 50 parishioners from various ethnic backgrounds an opportunity to study Catholic teaching on immigration and build bridges of understanding between their immigrant and non-immigrant communities. The workshop was organized by CCISCO (Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization) and the Life and Justice office of the Oakland Diocese.

A similar workshop took place at the Catholic Community of Pleasanton.

The Brentwood parish also collected about 1,500 signed postcards, part of the Justice for Immigrants campaign of the U.S. Catholic Church. The postcards were sent to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Congressional Representatives.

John Watkins, coordinator of the diocesan Life and Justice Office, said more than 9,000 postcards have been distributed to17 parishes in the diocese.

On March 17, 50 leaders, including 18 youth, from Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action, Oakland Community Organizations, and San Francisco Organizing Project boarded buses for a cross-country trip to Washington, D.C. where they participated in the March 21 immigration rally on the National Mall.

They focused on five principles of reform: family unity and family reunification, legalization that includes a path to citizenship, passage of the Dream Act, due process for legal and undocumented immigrants, faith and humane treatment of immigrant workers.

A solidarity rally was held March 24 in San Francisco. Among those attending were 250 CCISCO leaders and clergy, including Father Ramiro Flores, parochial administrator of St. Mark Parish in Richmond. They marched from Justin Herman Plaza to Senator Feinstein’s district office.

Father Jay Matthews, pastor of Oakland’s St. Benedict Parish and Jesuit Father Gregory Chisholm, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Oakland, joined in a March 31 march of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Redemptorist Father Don MacKinnon, pastoral leader with the Kmhmu and Laotian communities, joined them.

The annual public policy breakfast sponsored by Catholic Charities of the East Bay will have immigration as a key topic when participants convene on April 23. This year’s Lobby Day in Sacramento, April 27, will include advocacy for passage of the Dream Act that gives undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age a path to legal residency through higher education.

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