USCCB Chairman Expresses Ongoing Support For DACA; Calls On Administration And Congress To Ensure Permanent Protection For DACA Youth

WASHINGTON— Over 750,000 youth have received protection from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2012. While DACA provides no legal status, it does provide recipients with a temporary reprieve from deportation and employment authorization for legal work opportunities in the United States.

In response to the recent petition to the U.S. Department of Justice to terminate DACA, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Chair of the Migration Committee and Bishop of Austin, Texas, expressed support for DACA once again, stating:

“The Catholic Bishops have long supported DACA youth and continue to do so. DACA youth are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes. These young people entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home. The dignity of every human being, particularly that of our children and youth, must be protected.I urge the Administration to continue administering the DACA program and to publicly ensure that DACA youth are not priorities for deportation.

However, DACA is not a permanent solution; for this reason, I also call on Congress to work in an expeditious and bipartisan manner to find a legislative solution for DACA youth as soon as possible. My brother bishops and I pledge continuing efforts to help find a humane and permanent resolution that protects DACA youth. Additionally, I note the moral urgency for comprehensive immigration reform that is just and compassionate. The bishops will advocate for these reforms as we truly believe they will advance the common good.

Lastly, to DACA youth and their families, please know that the Catholic Church stands in solidarity with you. We recognize your intrinsic value as children of God. We understand the anxiety and fear you face and we appreciate and applaud the daily contributions you make with your families, to local communities and parishes, and to our country. We support you on your journey to reach your God-given potential.”

Reading to children is a good summer activity

You can spark your child’s imagination with reading, which allows playful creativity to take over and learning to ensue. Whether you, your child or someone else does the reading, there’s sure to be a memory produced, experience gained or knowledge added when there’s a favorite book or story involved. For more information on the importance of youth reading, visit


International Day of Prayer against Sex Trafficking: Feb 8

February 8: International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General has designated February 8 as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she became a Canossian nun and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering. She was declared a Saint in 2000.

On February 8, Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to create greater awareness about this phenomenon. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity, but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower survivors.

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Homily for Thursday, November 20, 2014

Readings for Today

I  have been teaching long enough, that my former students are now grown adults, raising families of their own. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction and pride, as I witness on the one hand, people that I remember as young adolescents seeking to find out how to live their life, and now watching them raise their own children. Many of you have seen the same cycle in your own lives. For those of you who are parents,  when your children are grown and have children of their own, I would suspect that there is a certain sense of pride as you see your own children rise to the occasion, becoming great parents, in raising your grandchildren. And  as you watch your grandchildren challenge your children in the very same ways that your children challenged you, you might even take a little bit of satisfaction.

Unfortunately, there are also moments, when grandparents witnessed their grandchildren, or their own children, or in my case a teacher who witnesses a former student, who winds up in a great deal of trouble. Sad to say, I have also had former students who threw very bad choices, have found themselves in a very difficult place. Just as there is a certain type of pride that exists when students succeed, there is a deep sadness that occurs when students do not. I know that this sadness exists also for parents when their children don’t live up to their expectations. I know for many parents, who have grown adult children, there can be a deep sadness when they’re grown adult children do not embrace the faith in the way that they do.

At this stage in the Gospels, Jesus finds himself looking over  Jerusalem. And as he considers what appears to be inevitably his fate, he is filled with sadness, as he realizes what could have been. Because God has made us free, and the people of Jerusalem were also free, they are able to reject Jesus. And so, is not unusual for Jesus to be sad. It is a natural human instinct to want to protect those we love. As Jesus becomes more conscious of the fate that awaits him, namely his passion and death on the cross, he is filled with sadness of those who might experience similar suffering.

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Homily for Saturday, August 16, 2014

Readings for Today

When I consider education, I consider elementary school teachers to be the most heroic.  They are with their students literally all day long.  There is no bell to signal release from a student with whom the teacher might not get along with, and if there is a particularly challenging mix of students in the same class, the teacher needs to figure it all out.  So what is it about a child that causes Jesus to use them as an example for the Kingdom of God? Because when you look upon a child, while there are moments when a person might call them “adorable”, there are other moments when they are anything but adorable.  What qualities then, do children possess that make them worthy of imitation of acceptance of the Kingdom of God?

In considering the best qualities of children, there is a sense of trust and wonder in children that we can lose as adults.  There is a genuineness and sincerity in children that can warm even the most cynical heart.  Children are also brutally honest, never afraid to ask the question that as we get older we do not wish to ask, because it might be embarrassing.  Children are able to see the beauty in the world.  Dandelions are not weeds, and just about anything can trigger imagination and play.  And so with this outlook, children possess a mentality that can make it easy to see the Kingdom of God all around them.

Perhaps the quality most common to all of us is that of vulnerability.  Children are vulnerable.  They need the care and protection of their parents, for they have not yet fully come to understand the world in a place that can be safe, but is also dangerous.

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Homily for Thursday, July 10, 2014

Readings for Today

You cannot make someone love you. One of the most painful realities of human existence, is when a person finds they love someone who does not love them. In the most difficult of these situations, the person in love seeks to do whatever it takes to make the other love them. It is painful and it is challenging.

Today’s readings remind us of the same is true for God. Only with God, it is that he chooses not to make us love him, but rather gives us the powerfully loving ability to reject him. It can be difficult for us to witness, because if you’re like me, there are times you wonder why God does not act more forcefully or powerfully. In this respect of the ultimate freedom God gives us, is sometimes used to demonstrate that there is no God.

Even though God gives us ultimate freedom, God never stops loving us.  This is true even if we choose to do the most evil of things.  God does truly love the sinner and hate the sin.  This can be hard for us to understand and accept. I suspect somewhere in our heart is a desire that God will help us to get even. But God’s justice is not ours.

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Homily for Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Readings for Today

Forgiveness is an interesting thing.  Those of you who are parents, I suspect from the beginning of the time when your son or daughter acknowledges that they have done wrong and they are sorry, your heart becomes a little bigger.  At the very least, rarely do wrong actions on the part of our children cause us to give up on them.  For many, parents realize they can never give up on their children.

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