Pope Francis waves to people gathered across the border in El Paso, Texas, after praying at a wooden cross in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Feb. 17. CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters
Wednesday (2/17), of course, was the Mass with the Holy Father. He visited a local prison earlier in the day where he gave a magnificent address to the inmates, and then in the afternoon was the Mass at the border. Before celebrating the Mass, the Holy Father went to a point very near the border looking out over El Paso. After praying at the large cross there and blessing the people in El Paso, he proceeded to celebrate the Eucharist at which he gave a beautiful homily addressing the challenges of forced immigration.
The reason I went to Juarez is that the Holy Father's presence there is of such crucial significance to us as a Catholic community. In the world today we have a crisis of refugees and immigrants. There are millions of refugees in the world and, in our own hemisphere, the suffering of so many immigrants is something that needs to be addressed by careful and thoughtful legislation. It is not a political problem, not a problem of statistics or programs, but is a human problem. The Holy Father's coming to the border was to emphasize the humanity of the immigrants and, in a very dramatic way, to appeal to people of goodwill to seek paths that will bring about greater justice for so many suffering people and help families that are divided to be reunited.
Reflecting on these themes, I wrote this reflection, which I would like to share with you here: