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Diocese Develops Pastoral Response to Immigration Concerns


By Liz Sullivan

In response to the growing concern among the immigrant communities in Santa Clara County, the Diocese of San Jose developed a Diocesan Pastoral Response for its immigrant brothers and sisters who maybe facing “expedited removal.”

The document titled, “Together in Christ: The Church’s Pastoral Response to the Crisis of Immigrants Facing Imminent Deportation” was authored by Father Jon Pedigo, the Director of Projects for Peace and Justice in conjunction with the Diocese’s immigration support network. It was sent to all clergy (pastors, vicars, deacons), pastoral associates, catechetical directors and all members of the Diocesan Office of Parish Services (OPS).

“Together in Christ” is Bishop Patrick J. McGrath’s motto.

The response is the result of several months of consultation with those directly affected by the recent developments in immigration policy and those who serve the immigrant population. It is the first step toward providing practical ways for all parishes and schools to support those affected.

In a cover letter to the document, Pedigo says “this document will help you, your staff and parish leadership discern how you might become involved in dealing with the crisis at the parish level.”

Pedigo added in the letter that some parishes are already assisting people facing deportation, but many are still seeking ways to engage people through support, providing food, volunteers or educating their parish community about the situation.

Finally, Pedigo said training and pastoral orientation dates will be set up to provide additional support to the immigration communities.

The Response features background on the history of the Diocese working with undocumented immigrants and refugees dating back to its establishment in 1981. In the Bishop’s forward, which opens the Response, he says, “We are One Church, born of One Baptism and formed together in One Spirit.”

The Response goes on to describe the brief descriptions of ministries provided, pastoral considerations and support material.
“Our pastoral work must address the real needs of the people and it must be a collective effort of all our parishes and institutions, not just those parishes with immigrant populations,” said the Bishop in the Foreword.

This document is another step forward taken by the Diocese in response to the immigration concerns in Santa Clara County. On March 6-7, Pedigo hosted an Immigration Summit at the Chancery to continue the dialogue and develop a response. A week later, Pedigo joined law enforcement officials from Santa Clara County, along other religious and community leaders and announced that they would not detain or arrest any person on the basis of their citizenship or status under civil immigration laws.

To read the Response, visit the Diocese of San Jose website,