Congressional representatives were then invited to share their views on the issue at a gathering after the Mass. Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) assisted in the planning and promotion of the Mass.
To make the Mass a true Diocesan celebration, buses were secured to transport Catholics from parishes in the High Desert and Low Desert, Murrieta and Rancho Cucamonga to St. Francis Xavier Cabrini to participate.
“Immigration reform is an issue that concerns people from every corner of our Diocese,” said Hilda Cruz, coordinator of the Justice for Immigrants Campaign for the Diocese. “We made a concerted effort to bring distant communities together to hear their Bishop speak out on this great need that we have for reform.”
Attendees of the Mass were urged to sign postcards, to be mailed to Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, calling for the reform elements presented by the U.S. Bishops:
• A path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the United States
• Family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system
• Legal paths for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the U.S.
• Restoration of due process protections in our immigration enforcement policies
• Addressing of root causes (push factors) of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity.
In addition to direct calls for immigration reform, the Diocesan Mass also celebrated the importance of the immigrant to the history of the nation and the Catholic Church, a theme that was featured at a similar Mass held July 21 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego joined Archbishop Jose Gomez and several other Southern California bishops in that celebration.
Less than a week later, on July 26, Bishop del Riego joined in an event outside the office of Rep. Gary Miller, who represents the 31st Congressional District, to urge him to support comprehensive immigration reform. Rep. Miller’s office was presented with more than 1,600 petitions calling for comprehensive immigration reform, at the conclusion of the event.
“The suffering of people cannot continue and the deportations must stop,” said Bishop del Riego to cheers from the crowd of 80 who attended the event. “The present legislation needs to be changed and come up with a fair and compassionate comprehensive immigration law.”
“We know that immigrants have values that are treasured by Americans, such as love of family, love of work, community spirit, religious faith and a desire to search for new opportunities for growth and development.”