The United States has a long and proud history of welcoming persons from other countries who come to our land seeking freedom to practice their religion, live in safety and work hard to provide a decent life for their families. Indeed, the region of the Diocese of Scranton owes much of its heritage and prosperity to immigrants who have and continue to contribute greatly to the fabric of life in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.
Not unlike those who settled in the United States a century ago, the vast majority of today’s immigrants simply seek a better life for themselves and their families. Sadly, many of these same individuals also look to our great land as a refuge in the face of persecution, war and terror in their homelands. These refugees are vetted through a rigorous program that has proven to be effective over the course of many years.
Our Catholic faith calls us to respect life: to welcome the stranger, to treat every life with dignity and respect, and to offer compassion to all, regardless of their country of origin or religious background. Simply put, turning our backs on the most vulnerable in need of our help is not consistent with the values upon which our country was founded and is not consistent with the message of the gospel of Jesus.
Pope Francis urged Americans to put aside fear and instead offer the world hope and solidarity. In 2015, he shared these challenging words to members of the United States Congress and to the people of America,“If we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.”