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Lenten Challenge to Welcome the Stranger

Feb 24, 2012
Kristen Lionetti

Lent is often associated with giving up those things we most enjoy.  But in the past few years, it has become one of my favorite seasons—less for what is lost and more for what is gained.  This is a season of reflection and renewal, an opportunity to refresh those perspectives we hold of self and others in our communities, nation, and world. 

A glance back at the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching reminds me of the importance of recognizing the dignity of each person, the value of solidarity, and the meaning of all people’s full participation in community.  Too often this is not the experience of the immigrant in our midst.  Many experience barriers in accessing medical care or education, do not receive just wages for their labor, or live in fear of family separation.

My few months as an intern here at CLINIC have reaffirmed the notion that this work of striving to honor the dignity of immigrants,

invite them into fuller participation in our communities, and seek to really understand others across barriers is needed and can be seen at many levels.  It takes place through the legal services CLINIC’s affiliates provide every day, through trainings to continually strengthen these services, through advocacy for policies and programs which promote the dignity of immigrants, and through education on both immigrants’ experience of injustice and their contributions in our communities.  This Lent, let us consider how we, individually and collectively, live the values of dignity, solidarity, and participation to more fully welcome the foreigner in our midst.

I invite you to join me in welcoming the stranger during this Lenten Season by reflecting on the following points, adapted from USCCB’s Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching.  To view USCCB’s full examination, please click here.

  •  Do I see all members of the human family, whatever their race, class, or immigration status, as my brothers and sisters? 
  • Do I support the efforts of all persons, including those who are immigrants, to work for change in their neighborhoods and communities? Do my attitudes and interactions empower or disempower others?
  • Do I urge those in power to implement programs and policies that give priority to the human dignity and rights of all, especially the vulnerable and the foreigner in our midst?

For more ideas to guide your reflection and action this Lenten season, visit Justice for Immigrants' Lenten Resolutions for Change

To learn more about CLINIC’s programs and ongoing commitment to welcoming the stranger, click here.


*Kristen is an intern with CLINIC's Advancement, Marketing and Communications section