By Abraham Joven
ADELANTO—Every year, the Diocese of San Bernardino hosts a Mass focusing on migration. Whether the temporary visitors in the form of refugees, migrant laborers, or our permanent resident brothers and sisters hailing from distant lands, this Mass is an opportunity to for us to be neighbor to and welcome the stranger among us.
This year, on January 14, the focus will be on accompanying members of the community that may have been forgotten: people in immigrant detention. The Mass will take place at 2 p.m. at Holy Innocents Church, 13230 El Evado Road, Victorville. To heighten the impact of the Mass, it was initially scheduled to take place in the open space across the road from the Adelanto Detention Facility. This facility has recently come under scrutiny for alleged inhumane and unjust living conditions for inmates, resulting in hunger strikes, suicide attempts and three deaths in the past year. Among the complaints of these incarcerated brothers is lack of access to faith services, a right of those who are imprisoned.
Jurisdictional issues raised by civic authorities required that the Migration Mass take place elsewhere.
The Diocesan Justice for Immigrants and Restorative Justice ministries have reached out to those incarcerated in the Adelanto facility, advocating for their rights and attempting to help meet their spiritual needs. The Diocese has joined with immigrant rights coalitions on the property across Rancho Road from the Adelanto facility on Good Friday to pray Immigrant Stations of the Cross.
Though the Mass will now be held a few miles away, the aim remains the same—to bring Christ to those behind bars in a show of solidarity.
Abraham Joven is the Director of Advocacy and Justice for Immigrants for the Diocese of San Bernardino.