US Catholic Institutions and Immigrant Integration: Will The Church Rise To The Challenge? arises from a multi-year process led by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), to engage the leaders of diverse US Catholic agencies, academics and others on immigrant integration as a potentially unifying Catholic priority.
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The Catholic Church in the United States is widely viewed as an immigrant church in a nation of immigrants. This book raises the crucially important question of how Catholic institutions in our country are living up to their history and promise as immigrant “integrating” institutions. It makes the case that our institutions should become more open and responsive to the needs, gifts, spiritual wealth, and leadership of the nation’s record number of immigrants, their children and grandchildren. The volume reminds us that immigrants are a real gift to be celebrated not only in the Church but in the wider society as well. Pope Francis reminds us that immigrants are not a “problem”; on the contrary, he says that they, “are an occasion that Providence gives us to help build a more just society, a more perfect democracy, a more united country, a more fraternal world and a more open and evangelical community.”
His Eminence Seán Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston
US Catholic Institutions and Immigrant Integration: Will the Church Rise to the Challenge? offers a timely reminder that we are all called to safeguard the dignity of immigrants and to provide opportunities for human flourishing and shared membership in the Catholic Church and society. To the Church, integration and communion are not about assimilating immigrants so that “they” become like “us,” but about an openness to the universal values found in diverse cultures and a willingness to change so that the table of the Lord truly provides Eucharist to all of us. The book describes programs and ministries that foster communion and serve as a blessing to the Church and to all of us, especially our immigrant brothers and sisters. May we always be willing to learn together as we rely totally on God regardless of our circumstances!
Sr. Sally Duffy, S.C., President and Executive Director, SC Ministry Foundation
This book addresses a question of vital importance to the future of the Catholic Church in the United States: i.e., how Catholic institutions–individually and collectively–can better serve, empower and minister to immigrants and their progeny. It reveals the immigrant roots of diverse US Catholic institutions, documents innovative ministries by and for newcomers, and reviews the demographic evidence on the growing importance of immigrants to the Church and broader society. Most importantly, it outlines a Catholic vision of integration rooted not in the absorption of immigrants into a fixed and dominant US culture, but of communion between natives and newcomers and of unity based on our shared (Gospel) values and core beliefs. Although focused on US Catholic institutions, its lessons and recommendations will benefit the Church throughout the world. The book should also be useful to faith leaders from other traditions, policymakers, and public officials who care about the well-being of immigrants and their new communities.
Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn
Donald M. Kerwin, Jr. directs the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) of New York. CMS is a New York-based think tank and educational institute devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees and newcomers. CMS is a member of the Scalabrini International Migration Network, which consists of more than 270 entities that serve, safeguard and advocate for migrants throughout the world. Mr. Kerwin has also served as Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.; Vice-President for Programs at the Migration Policy Institute; Associate Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center; and on numerous boards, advisory committees, and task forces.
Breana George is the research coordinator of CMS and serves as the managing editor of the center’s public policy publication, the Journal on Migration and Human Security. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from New York University.
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