Bishop Joseph C. Bambera is one of five U.S. bishops on a mission to encounter people who have entered the country at a border crossing from Mexico into Texas.
The delegation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops arrived July 1 in the Brownsville-McAllen area of Texas, one of the regions on the southern border where parents or family members without legal documentation have been separated from their children.
Catholic bishops have for weeks expressed concern about the separation of families and the well being of the children.
The delegation is being led by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition to Bishop Bambera, it includes Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville and Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who is vice president of the USCCB, is expected to join the delegation.
The bishops celebrated a morning Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen. Later in the day they visited a respite center that serves refugees and immigrants released from detention centers.
Tomorrow they plan to visit a center for migrants run by Catholic Charities and a facility where children are being held. They also plan to meet with authorities near the border.
“While it is important for us to protect our borders in a just and fair manner, we also must be aware of the plight of so many of the families who are fleeing violence and chaos in their homelands,” Bishop Bambera said.
“In listening to their stories, parents are simply trying the best they can to protect their children and provide them with a safe and secure home. For all that they have suffered on their journeys, they are incredibly grateful for what we can share.”