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WASHINGTON—Representatives of bishops’ conferences of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other Latin American and Caribbean countries will convene June 2-4 in Washington for the 2010 Regional Bishops’ Consultation on Migration. Archbishop Antonio Maria Vegliò, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People at the Vatican, and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, are also slated to attend.
The bishops are expected to discuss the current situation of migrants in their respective countries. This will involve presentations on current conditions impacting migration in sending and receiving countries; the treatment of immigrants living in or in transit through their countries; the impact on communities left behind; the implications of these realities on the Church’s pastoral care, advocacy and public policy, and service responses; coordination of efforts at the regional level; and the search for successful models.
A dialogue with public officials is stated for June 4. The bishops and staff of related Catholic agencies dealing with the realities of human migration across the region will also tour two separate pastoral care and service centers for immigrants in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, on June 3. On the same day, they will be joined for lunch and hear from a group of children from the “Unaccompanied Minors” program from the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.
These consultations have grown out of regular meetings between the migration-related committees of the U.S. and Mexico episcopal conferences that began in 1999 and resulted in the historic joint pastoral letter, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, issued in 2003. Since then, the consultations were expanded to other bishops’ conferences and their staff involved in human mobility work in Canada and Latin America, especially in Central America and the Caribbean. These discussions have served to strengthen collaboration among the participating episcopal conferences on behalf of migrants, transcending borders and allowing for more comprehensive responses. In 2008, the consultation was held in Tijuana, Mexico, and in 2009 in San Marcos, Guatemala.
Scheduled to participate at the consultation in Washington are several U. S. bishops including Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration; Archbishop José H. Gomez, Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles and chairman-elect of the Committee on Migration; Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego of San Bernardino, California, president of the USCCB Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers, under the Committee of Cultural Diversity in the Church; Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, representing CLINIC’s (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) board; Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Madden of Baltimore; and Auxiliary Bishop John Manz of Chicago.
Representatives of other episcopal conferences include Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini (Guatemala), Bishop Arturo Gonzalez (Cuba), Bishop Francois Gayot (Haiti) and Bishop Berhard Hombach (Nicaragua); Archbishop Rafael Romo of Tijuana, and Bishops Raul Vera and Pedro Pablo Elizondo (Mexico); Bishop Francois Lapierre (Canada), Bishop Pedro Hernandez (Panama), Bishop Francisco Ozoria Acosta (Dominican Republic), Bishop Angel San Casimiro (Costa Rica); and Bishops Maurus Muldoon and Juan José Pineda (Honduras). Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa (Panama) will represent CELAM (Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean) at the consultation.
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