By John Lynds
During a special Mass on Sunday at the Most Holy Redeemer Church on Maverick Street, Mayor Martin Walsh joined Boston Archdiocese Archbishop Cardinal Sean O’Malley and other city officials to stand in solidarity with Eastie’s immigrant population.
The Holy Redeemer Church and parish serves hundreds of Latinos in Eastie and following the White House’s tough stance on immigration, Walsh and others have been speaking out against President Donald Trump’s policies regarding immigrant groups and refugees.
Walsh was personally invited by the Cardinal to attend Mass in Eastie and address the hundreds of parishioners Sunday.
“Thank you Cardinal O’Malley, or Padre Sean, as many still call you. In times like these, we need moral leadership more than any other kind of leadership,” Walsh began. “You have provided it, with faith leaders across our city. You teach us that security and compassion are not opposed, but in fact go hand in hand. Security depends on justice; justice requires compassion; and compassion means respecting the dignity of all—especially the vulnerable.”
Walsh said he first learned these values growing up in an immigrant Irish Catholic household.
“When I am faced with challenges to these values, I know what to do: I pray and I listen. I listen to Cardinal Sean. I listen to Pope Francis. I listen to my pastor. I listen to my neighbors who are hurting. I listen for God’s presence and God’s guidance.” said Walsh. “What I hear is, “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” I hear, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” I hear “be merciful, as your Father is merciful. Mercy calls us to think of the troubles that drive people to leave their homes and to think of their hopes and dreams here in the United States. It calls us to remember how we all got here. My parents came to Boston with little money. They worked hard at difficult jobs. They didn’t ask for much in return except dignity and security.”
Walsh said he sees and hears the immigrants in our city today.
“Whatever their first country, whatever their religion, whatever their language, whether they are documented or undocumented, I see them and I think: you are “Mi Gente”, my people,” said Walsh. “I also see people standing up to resist discrimination, wherever it comes from. And I think “Somos Uno Boston”. We are one city, a city of immigrants. We stand together. We will never turn our backs on each other or on newcomers of any faith. We welcome them. We help them. We protect them. And we always will.”
During his homily, Cardinal O’Malley said in light of the present uncertainties and challenges that immigrants throughout the archdiocese are experiencing, he said he wished to address a few words of support and solidarity to the Catholics of our immigrant communities in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Boston.
“Having spent my entire priesthood working with people newly arrived from other countries, many of whom were undocumented workers fleeing the
wars and violence of Central America, I have seen up close the pain and suffering visited upon families who are forced by circumstances to live in the shadows, always fearful of discovery, and economic ruin,” he said. “Although many Americans are frustrated by a broken immigration system and others are
fearful of the threat of terrorism, I believe that most people in this country recognize that we are a nation of immigrants and that we have an established history
of assimilating people of different languages, religions, ethnicities into the magnificent mosaic that is America.”
O’Malley said that just as we are a country of immigrants, so too we are a Church of immigrants.
“The Catholic Church in the United States has always stood with people who have come to this country from other lands and found in the Church a community and spiritual home,” said O’Malley. “The arrival of so many from all over the globe has greatly enriched our country and our Church.”
With about one million immigrants living in Massachusetts, O’Malley assured the crowd that the Bishops of the United States and the leadership of the Catholic Church is committed to working for comprehensive immigration reform and for a welcoming policy towards those who are fleeing persecution and violence.
“It is our fervent prayer that people of goodwill from both political parties will be able to come together and forge a comprehensive immigration policy and laws that will reflect the idealism of this country,” he said. “I am anxious to assure all of you, especially families in the most precarious situations, that your Church stands with you and will work hard to promote solutions to the challenges that you face. Indeed, many of the programs of Catholic Charities
are geared towards the immediate needs of immigrant families.”
Mayor Martin Walsh addresses parishioners at Most Holy Redeemer Church in East Boston on Sunday.
Boston Archdiocese Archbishop Cardinal Sean O’Malley arrives at Most Holy Redeemer Church in East Boston for Mass Sunday.