JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Continuing to help families impacted by the ICE raids the Diocese of Jackson and non-profit Catholic Extension brought in a Cardinal from the Catholic church in Guatemala for pastoral support.
Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini is known world wide for his work in promoting faith and humanity.
Most of the undocumented immigrants arrested in the August raids were from Guatemala which played a part in Cardinal Ramazzini coming out. His message there are no foreigners in church.
From Jackson, to Carthage and Canton Cardinal Ramazzini followed Father Roberto Mena and Bishops to speak to kids and others separated from loved ones in the August ICE raids.
“We want to make sure that the people know they have dignity,” Cardinal Ramazzini said. “Because many times knowing that their immigrants some of them feel their inferior. Let them know you are not criminals, no Christian is a foreigner in any place they are.”
This visit is part of a new Catholic Extension program called Holy Family Fund aimed at giving financial relief and counseling to low income immigrant families who can’t make ends meet after a parent was detained.
“Kids that I’m meeting are displaying profound trauma and I’m just a visitor coming in,” Catholic Extension Vice President Joe Boland told us. “An 8 year old boy named Johnathan gave us a letter and amazingly the first words out of his mouth were thank you for remembering us and not abandoning us.”
Records show most of the Guatemala undocumented immigrants arrested in Mississippi had been in the U.S for at least 10 years. Cardinal Ramazzini described what they were so desperate to escape.
“In Guatemala they get four dollars for the whole Labor Day,” Cardinal Ramazzini stated. “Lack of opportunities for the young and as a consequence there’s a high level of poverty. So they come to the United States where the moms can send their kids to school.”
Cardinal Ramazzini also pointed to bible verses and common practices in the Christian church he says current immigration laws go against which must change.
“There should not be divorce between faith and life,” Cardinal Ramazzini continued. “I think that’s the Christian crisis we live in America because if we truly live the Christian values we were taught then instead of saying I’m a Christian they’re not being able to recognize Christ in their neighbor.”
Other partners in this visit include the Southeast Pastoral Institute in Miami providing mental health resources for kids going through Christmas without their parents.