By Tom Venzor
Before jumping into this week’s column, a few upcoming events demand attention.
First, Jan. 22 marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the infamous cases that fabricated an unlimited right to abortion in our federal constitution. Since 1973, our nation has been accomplice to nearly 60 million abortions. This is a deep scourge upon our nation and has wounded the hearts and minds of countless people, leaving many in need of emotional, psychological, and spiritual healing. Jan. 22 provides a unique opportunity for Catholics to call America to greatness—to protect not only liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but life itself.
Second, Jan. 19 marks the 45th annual March for Life in Washington, DC. Every year, this event garners hundreds of thousands of joyful people marching in solidarity for the unborn child and an end to abortion. No other peaceful protest comes close to matching this yearly event. Young and old alike from across the country—including busloads from Nebraska—will prayerfully gather in DC. Pray for their safety and that a culture of life will be generated from this event.
Third, Jan. 27 marks the annual Nebraska Walk for Life and Pro-Life Mass. The Pro-Life Mass (sponsored by the Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities) begins at 9 a.m. at St. Mary Church (14th and K streets in Lincoln). This year’s celebrant is Bishop James Conley. The homilist is Father Ryan Kaup, a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln, who will share how his birth mother cancelled her abortion appointment and made the life-affirming sacrifice for him.
The Nebraska Walk for Life (sponsored by Nebraska Right to Life) begins at 10 a.m. on the north side of the State Capitol. Following the Walk, a brief program ensues at the UNL Student Union. The keynote speaker, Amy McElhinney, will discuss her book about Kermit Gosnell, the notorious abortion doctor now serving a life sentence for his egregious crimes against life in his Philadelphia abortion facility. Bring a friend (or 10) and make your voice heard as you walk in solidarity with the unborn child.
This week, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates National Migration Week. This celebration has been ongoing for nearly half a century. The week-long event offers a moment for the Church to consider the circumstances of migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking.
This year’s theme is “Many Journeys, One Family” and intended to highlight the reality that every family has a migration story, whether from the distant past or more recent.
My migration story is more recent. My father, Armando, immigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, during the 1980s. Though he illegally entered the country, under the Reagan administration he obtained a “Green Card” which granted him lawful presence in the United States.
I vividly recall as a middle-schooler, I would watch my father diligently studying in his bedroom for his citizenship test. While he always had great pride for his motherland, he had deep gratitude for the opportunity he received as a U.S. citizen. I am eternally grateful to the incredible virtue he exemplified for me. He had a deep love for Christ and His Church, an incredible love of family, a profound work ethic, sacrificial care and concern for his community, a joyful demeanor, and a great love for baseball!
Whether your family tree stems from the “old country” or you are a DREAMer, each of us has a story to share!
This year’s theme calls us to a deeper culture of encounter. It is no surprise that, in a highly technological age, we have become more alienated from one another. Personal encounter is often substituted by social media and whatever smartphone app consumes our time at the moment.
National Migration Week invites us to engage or continue engaging those who often find themselves on the margins of society, the migrant. Let this be a moment to engage migrants as community members, neighbors, and friends. Let us always see the face of Jesus in the other. In doing so, we bring about solidarity which is essential to any political community.
For more information, visit www.justiceforimmigrants.org.