Strangers No Longer: Support Our Immigrant Family
Rooted in Christ’s call to recognize Him in one another, especially in the marginalized, St. Mary Student Parish loves and welcomes our immigrant brothers and sisters. We serve as a safe home and dynamic resource for our immigrant and non-immigrant communities by providing pastoral care, education, and advocacy opportunities all based in mutual companionship.
St. Mary is a member of Strangers No Longer, an ever-growing Catholic network of Michigan parish-based immigration support teams. The USCCB is also piloting this type of network in a program called CARE, Catholic Accompaniment and Reflection Experience.
We invite you to get involved in a variety of ways:
Our team meets once a month to (bilingually) discuss the needs of the community and how St Mary can best respond. When an individual has an encounter with immigration officials we can provide a list of trustworthy lawyers, help find detained loved ones, and otherwise help navigate the overwhelming system and connect with community resources. We offer educational and prayerful opportunities for our community to come together to learn about realities immigrants face, and to take steps to advocate for immigrant rights at the local, state, and national level.
Accompaniment to Immigration Court and Check-ins (Drivers Group)
If you have a valid driver’s license, insurance and car registration, we welcome your support in providing rides to our parishioners. In Michigan, individuals who are undocumented cannot get a driver’s license. Volunteer drivers provide rides to our parishioners locally, such as to Mass and doctor appointments, as well as to Detroit for ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) supervisory check-ins and court hearings.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Classes
These free personalized English classes meet at 12:45 PM every Sunday and are open anyone who would like to improve their English. We pair each student with their own tutor, and students can decide what they would like to work on (reading, writing, speaking, etc) If 12:45 PM on Sunday doesn’t work for the student, we can pair students with tutors at a different time that works for them.
If you are interested in volunteering, or if St Mary can support you or a loved one in one of these areas, please contact Amy Ketner. Spanish speakers, English speakers and bilingual individuals are welcome!
What are our US Bishops saying about immigration?
USCCB Migration and Refugee Services: http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-and-refugee-services/
Pastoral Letter: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immigration/strangers-no-longer-together-on-the-journey-of-hope.cfm).
Other helpful resources:
Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) https://michiganimmigrant.org/
Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR) http://wicir.org/
Washtenaw Congregational Sanctuary https://www.facebook.com/WashtenawCongregationalSanctuary/
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) https://cliniclegal.org/
Justice for Immigrants https://justiceforimmigrants.org/
To learn more about the effects of deportation on our community:
CRISIS Report https://cmsny.org/publications/communities-in-crisis/
Documentary about the deportation of our parishioner, Lourdes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3q0MaRQAmw&t=10s
Lourdes’ daughter, Pamela, gives her testimony to Congress: http://jesuits.org/news-detail?tn=news-20190311123442