By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
On any given Sunday, mass is celebrated in 32 different languages in Catholic churches in the Diocese of Brooklyn, according to diocese officials, who said immigrants settling here have brought from their native countries a strong religious tradition.
On April, 14, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated mass in honor of immigrants at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint James in downtown Brooklyn. Called a Catholic Migration Mass, the event took place as lawmakers in Washington DC were considering comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
US Senator Charles Schumer, one of the so-called “gang of eight” senators working on a compromise bill to address the situation of undocumented immigrants, attended the migration mass. “America is a nation of immigrants and nowhere is this more true than here in the great Diocese of Brooklyn, under the leadership of immigration advocate second-to none, Bishop DiMarzio,” Schumer said.
“I am hard at work with my bi-partisan allies putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will bring 11 million people out of the shadows and onto the path to citizenship. With your help, and your prayers, I hope that we will succeed in passing this vital legislation,” Schumer said.
The New York Times reported on April 16 that Schumer and his seven colleagues were proposing a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but that the path wouldn’t be easy. It would take 13 years from the time an immigrant applied to the time he or she could become a Us citizen, the Times reported.
Catholics from 28 ethnic groups were in the cathedral on Sunday for the mass. Many of the participants dressed in the traditional clothing their homelands.
The Rev. Patrick J. Keating, CEO of Catholic Migration Services, praised the contributions immigrants have made to American society. “We live in a great nation; we live in a great city. Where would we be without immigrants?” he said.
“Let us support immigration reform that will keep families together, let us support immigration reform that will respect and honor the legacy of the immigrants that have come before us,” Keating stated.
Catholic Migration Services, a non-profit program established in 1971, has helped over 100,000 immigrants and their families over the past 42 years. It is a non-profit program affiliated with the diocese. The program’s Brooklyn headquarters is located at 1258 65th St.
Its services include the Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Program, which seeks to improve living conditions for low-income immigrant tenants, and the Immigrant Workers’ Rights Program, which represents workers in disputes over wage violations, unsafe working conditions, and other workplace abuses. For more information on Catholic Migration Services, visit www.catholicmigration.org, or call 718-236-3000.