When thinking of Lent, many people think about what they are going to “give up” - from chocolate and sweets to a wide range of things they will go without for 40 days. However, the true power of Lent is that of a journey of reflection, resolution, and renewal.
This Lent, the Justice for Immigrant Campaign (JFI) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites us to resolve to advocate, organize, and encourage others to actively support immigration reform by participating in the following Lenten Resolutions for Immigrants.
REFLECTION: Have you heard or read first-hand accounts of injustice and suffering of immigrant families? Do you have a neighbor who worries about their family being split up? Reflect on the story of the Holy Family, the archetype of migrant families, who, not able to stay in their homeland and rejected by others along their journey, found someone willing to give them a hand. How can you help those most in need of effective immigration reform and lend a helping hand as the innkeeper did?
RENEWAL: With the ups and downs of previous immigration reform efforts behind us, we must renew our commitment to advocate for fair and just immigration reform. We will share with one another personal stories of the struggles of immigrants, the commitment of the faith community, and continue to tell our U.S. Senators and Representatives to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We will move forward feeling refreshed and empowered to tackle the challenges that are ahead with creative initiatives and a new sense of hope.
RESOLUTION: We will commit to strengthening our advocacy, education and organizing work to push legislative change in even more compelling and strategic ways during Lent. We will hold one another accountable to standing with immigrants, and we will make sure our lawmakers pass laws with the well-being of migrants in mind
ACTION: PICK A LENTEN RESOLUTION
Do it individually or get together with a partner or small group, and decide how you will advocate for and take action in solidarity with immigrants during Lent. State your commitment on a pledge card or petition and use the note daily to remind yourself of your resolution.
Ideas for Lenten Resolutions include (creativity is encouraged!)
Public Witness - “I will go to www.justiceforimmigrants.org
once a week, to send an electronic postcard to my members of Congress asking them to support just and humane immigration”
Friendship - “I will organize a story circle get-together in my parish/community where immigrants and non-immigrants from all backgrounds can share their family stories and histories in a celebratory and non-threatening environment so that differences can be celebrated and bridges can be built between people from different backgrounds and cultures. We will then call or email or federal lawmakers asking that they support immigration reform.”
Education - “I will have two conversations a week with friends or community members to deepen their understanding of the need for immigration reform. I will follow up by sending them information from the Justice for Immigrants website and urge them to send the postcard on the JFI homepage.”
Solidarity and Community - “I will set up a meeting with the offices of my U.S. Senators and Representative in order to discuss the need for compassionate immigration reform. I will bring others with me to the meeting, but will meet with the offices myself if I am unable to get others to accompany me.”
Unite - “I will have ten people every week during Lent call, write and mail a letter or postcard, or send the JFI e-postcard to their U.S. Senators and Representatives. (From “Lenten Resolutions on Behalf of Immigrant” FI)