Saturday, June 15, 2024
Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Concordia Sisters of St. Joseph

Loving God and neighbor without distinction: A pontifical institute of women religious of the Roman Catholic Church

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We Stand in Solidarity With Ruben Garcia and Annunciation House

“Amen I say to you whatever you do to the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

In recent days, Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas has been challenged because of their faithfulness in living those words from Matthew’s Gospel.  Annunciation House has provided hospitality to hundreds of thousands of refugees for over forty-six years. It is a work recognized by the Catholic Church.  Ruben Garcia was one of the original founders.

We Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas stand in solidarity with Ruben Garcia and the work at Annunciation House in sheltering the homeless and living the Catholic social teaching of honoring the dignity of each person.

The Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso articulates clearly the work of the Gospel as Ruben faces a law suit by the Attorney General of Texas.  We wish to share his wisdom and commitment to the Gospel by sharing his statement:

For generations, El Paso has worked hard to build a resilient and welcoming borderland community, a place of welcome and dignity. 
Today, however, we find ourselves in an impossible position, hemmed in on all sides. On the one hand, we are challenged by serious federal neglect to provide a safe, orderly and humane response to migration at our southern border. On the other hand, we are now witnessing an escalating campaign of intimidation, fear and dehumanization in the State of Texas, one characterized by barbed wire, harsh new laws penalizing the act of seeking safety at our border, and the targeting of those who would offer aid as a response of faith.
For more than forty-five years, Annunciation House has been an effective, compassionate local response to a complex and broken immigration system. Rooted in the Gospel, and born of an encounter between Ruben Garcia and Mother Teresa of Kolkata, it has led our community effort to meet the challenge of migration in recent years. Its work is nourished by long-standing partnerships with the Catholic Church in El Paso, our local government and our federal law enforcement partners, including U.S. Border Patrol. Its work is an example of our Catholic commitment to the poor, the Christian call to love one’s neighbor, and stepping into the breach to take action where many will not. Our church, our city and our country owe Annunciation House a deep debt of gratitude.
This is not about politics. I know the guests at Annunciation House, those trapped on the other side of the border and those who have died trying to cross it. I have encountered them and have experienced their pain, suffering and hope. This is about their lives and our shared human dignity. Our community’s actions in this moment, the decisions that we make and the response that we offer today, will be judged by whether or not we rise to that standard.
Let me be clear. For the church’s part, we will endeavor to work with all in pursuit of the common good of our city and nation. We will vigorously defend the freedom of people of faith and goodwill to put deeply held religious convictions into practice. We will not be intimidated in our work to serve Jesus Christ in our sisters and brothers fleeing danger and seeking to keep their families together. We will stand in solidarity with our community’s aid workers and volunteers, with our community non-profits assisting migrants, as well as with all those in the borderlands and throughout our state living under the weight of inhumane immigration policies.
As one El Paso community, this is our promise today. We will not surrender the identity of our borderlands, a place which chooses compassion over indifference, human fraternity over division, and radical hope and evangelical love over hatred and exclusion. 

Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, D.D. –  Bishop of El Paso