Children cry next to their mother after a caravan of Honduran migrants trying to reach the U.S. stormed a border checkpoint Oct. 19 in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. CNS photo/Edgard Garrido, Reuters

God will reward those helping migrant caravan, Mexico bishop says

By  Catholic News Agency
  • October 27, 2018
TAPACHULA, Mexico – Bishop Jaime Calderón Calderón of Tapachula, Mexico praised the generosity of lay people and priests aiding migrants in his diocese.

“I am deeply grateful to my brother priests and all those people from our parishes who have gone far beyond their means to be able to provide for others," the bishop told Aci Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language sister agency.

"Know that God will always reward that goodness which you have shown.”

A “migrant caravan” of between five and six thousand of people has arrived in Mexico after leaving San Pedro de Sula in Honduras on October 13. The group's goal is to reach the United States.

The Trump administration has expressed concern about the migrant caravan, and is said to be finalizing a plan to address the expected arrival of thousands of migrants, many of whom are likely to make a petition for asylum upon reaching the border.

The NY Times reported Oct. 26 that this plan would likely look to close the border to most migrants, and establish new rules regarding eligibility for asylum claims, in addition to the possibility of deploying troops to the border. The president is said to be considering the possibility of giving a speech next week that would classify the migration effort as a national emergency.

The Diocese of Tapalucha, due to its location on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, has usually been the first diocese to receive the Central American migrants who want to pass through Mexico.

The bishop of Tapachula said that “a few days ago we became aware of the situation that our Honduran brothers have been especially going through.”

“I am specifically referring to the caravan that has been taking shape, with its ranks swelling as it progresses,” he said, noting that Tapachula “is the southern border crossing into our country.”

The bishop said that the situation obliged the Church to get organized “in order to welcome, to care for all those people,” driven to “leave their own land.”

“This has been a huge challenge for us to be able to assist, to be able to be there for them.

“Of course, before the Lord, before our God, I have asked myself how to be able to be there for them, and I have found a profound and heartwarming response from my own priests and the vast majority of the people in our diocese.”

The prelate said that these critical situations which “impel us to perform works of charity with greater effort, also bring out the best in people. It brings out the desire to help, to share, to be there, to give them even what you need to live on yourselves.

“May God be with us, may God care for us, may God sustain us. And we must always be reaching out to the migrant,” he stated.

Bishop Calderón Calderón pointed out that the situations motivating the migrants and pushing them to leave their own land “ have gradually reached the point of overwhelming the [Central American] countries' own efforts. An environment of poverty, and environment of injustice, an environment of violence is not a good habitat for a person to find fulfillment, to develop.”

“Now that this situation is getting worse, these very globalized phenomena are appearing and we have to reach out” to these people, he said.

The Honduran Bishops' Conference lamented last week the “human tragedy” exemplified by the migrant caravan.

“We note with much sadness and serious concern this “human tragedy,” as Pope Francis has called ‘forced migration,’ of the departure in a caravan of thousands of our Honduran brothers and sisters who have left their own land, seeking better oportunities for their lives, for themselves and for their own families,” the bishops said in a statement published October 20.

“This is an outrageous reality, caused by the current situation going on in our country, forcing a large and determined group to leave what little they have, venturing down the migration route to the United States without any certainty, with the desire to reach the promised land, the ‘American dream,’” they emphasized.

The Mexican bishop appealed to love for the Virgin of Guadalupe, saying it would motivate welcoming “these brothers who need it. She is Our Mother and she is the Mother of all.”

Catholic News Agency

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