Migration and immigration the focus of First Friday at Sacred Heart Monastery

Migration and immigration the focus of First Friday at Sacred Heart Monastery

Migration, immigration and respect for one another regardless of cultural background were the themes of the First Friday evening at Sacred Heart Monastery on February 7. Members of the North American Migration Committee led the evening, beginning with Eucharist, and concluding with a presentation to the formation community.

“Every person in this room has a story of immigration or migration, a story of encounter,” said Fr. Richard MacDonald, SCJ, in his introduction to the evening presentation.

Dehonians shared their personal stories of migration, including Fr. Quang Nguyen, SCJ, whose family fled Vietnam by boat. He was one of the last members of his family to arrive in the United States.

What does it mean to feel welcome, to be welcomed?” said Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ, after reflecting on his experience of being a North American living in Rome. “What is God asking of you at this moment? How are you being asked to make life easier for a refugee, a migrant? God is asking you to offer a gift of yourself; what is it?”

In small groups (English, Spanish and Vietnamese language groups), students and SCJs reflected on those questions. Noting that students are pulled in many directions, including ministry, school and prayer, one group emphasized that no matter how busy a person is, there is still something that he can do. Being present and listening to another is a first step. It is important to not just be welcoming of others, but to learn about the cultures of others, especially those with whom one lives. Other suggestions included helping migrants fill out forms, volunteering with Catholic Charities, “or simply muting the television for a few minutes to call your government representative to express your concern about a migration issue, or send an email.”

The formation community at Sacred Heart Monastery hosts a special evening of prayer and reflection on each First Friday of the academic year. This month’s gathering also included the postulancy ceremony for Kenneth Anyanwu and Celsus Robert (see below), and a Come and See Weekend during which those discerning a vocation come to visit the monastery.

READ MORE on the province website.

CLICK HERE to view an online photo album from the evening.

Pictured above are members of the formation community, Migration Committee members, and others who took part in the First Friday evening at Sacred Heart Monastery.

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