Did I ever think that, in doing my part time ministry from home, I’d have to say, “I just don’t have enough time?” But what this came to mean was that everyone seems to be taking advantage of the fact that many people have (or are assumed to have) more time, at least the time they save in not having to travel to meetings. So, if we save that time, why not use it for MORE meetings! And so the saga begins with Zoom meetings, conversations, webinars, presentations, fund-raisers……………
More meetings, however, are not such terrible things. Often this provides more opportunities for some groups to plan, to hear great speakers and to share the insights of all who are together in those meetings.
Recently two Chicago archdiocesan meetings accomplished just that. Within one week, the Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity, as well as the Immigrant Parish Coordinators (IPC), both had the opportunity to hear the expertise of Ashley Feasley, Director of Policy, and Migration and Refugee Services of the USCCB. Ashley shared her wealth of knowledge and insights on current legislation and issues of concern for immigrants today. Her passion and enthusiasm was obvious in enlightening the groups on some of those issues, including the Supreme Court and DACA; financial assistance for immigrants left out of the CARES Act; the closing of our borders to most migrants and refugees; the increase in deportations; poor health conditions during this COVID-19 pandemic for those caught in detention. She shared some ideas for following action alerts and ways to communicate with legislators concerning these issues and their ramifications.
The IPC forum ended with an invitation to take up some of these ideas through the formation of an Advocacy Committee who began their work just two weeks later. This is the renewal or re-forming of a group that had existed several years ago, but, with all the changes in archdiocesan personnel and department reconfiguration, lost its momentum. Two archdiocesan staff members head this committee which hopes to be a catalyst for advocacy on immigration issues on behalf of the archdiocese.
Sr. Cathy Fedewa, from Cabrini Retreat Center, who joined this group, said that, while this advocacy committee is in its formation stages, it plans to work together with several other groups and individuals in the area who are already engaged in individual aspects of immigration concerns.