The subject of immigration has been all over the news and all over the country in recent months. On Aug. 15, it was front and center at the Cathedral Parish of St. Patrick in Harrisburg.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference joined Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg and other community service organizations to encourage everyone to support the plight of refugees around the world and to treat all people with love and respect. The program was organized by the Cathedral Parish’s Mercy Matters Committee.
“You hear all the talk about the ‘immigration crisis,’” said one of the prime speakers, Eric Failing, the Executive Director of the PCC. “This is not a crisis. It’s an opportunity to live our faith.”
Failing praised the courage of refugees who have come to America seeking a better life. One such young man was at the program and spoke to the audience at St. Patrick’s. Amin Habeeb came to the United States several years ago in seeking asylum from Egypt.
“The situation in Egypt turned upside down in a very short period of time. Christians were fleeing their villages,” Habeeb told the crowd. “Refugees are coming here because they know this is a safe place.”
Habeeb now works with Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Services in Harrisburg and helps others with the knowledge and experience he has gained. He was sworn in earlier this month in Philadelphia as an official U.S. citizen.
The PCC thanks Father Joshua Brommer, the pastor of the Cathedral Parish, for hosting the event. Father Brommer addressed the gathering, saying “we have a lot of work to do but we can do it with your help.”
Just last month, the PCC sent a letter on behalf of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops to the Trump Administration asking it to maintain and even possibly expand the U.S. refugee resettlement program. The letter was in response to reports that the president was considering curtailing or even eliminating the program.
By Al Gnoza, Special to The Witness