Bishop Stika statement on immigrant arrests; extends thanks to those who have supported families

Jim Wogan News

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Bishop Richard F. Stika, who on Friday began a month-long series of Mass celebrations to offer the Sacrament of Confirmation to more than 1,700 youngsters in the Diocese of Knoxville, has issued the following statement regarding diocesan efforts to assist families following Thursday’s government raid in Grainger County:

“The arrests of workers and undocumented immigrants in East Tennessee this week has placed an unnecessary stress on vulnerable families that have, in many ways, become victims in a much larger story.

“For many years now, I have advocated for action by government leaders to come up with laws that protect our national identity and sovereign borders and also recognize America’s undeniable role as a sanctuary for those who arrived here many years ago with no intent to do harm. I remain disappointed that no common-sense solutions have been agreed to. In the meantime, families suffer and people live in the shadows.

“This week, I have been inspired by the tireless and faithful work of many volunteers who gathered to assist families at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Morristown. I am grateful for the leadership, pastoral guidance, and care provided by Father Patrick Brownell, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Morristown, and Father Steve Pawelk, pastor of St. John Paul II Catholic Mission in Grainger County.

“I am thankful for Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, our diocesan Hispanic Ministry, our diocesan Justice and Peace Ministry, counselors, caregivers, and the many businesses and community organizations in Morristown and surrounding areas that provided services, food, water, personal supplies, and love to all of the men, women, and children who have been affected.

“Over the past few days, I have said that our response to this incident isn’t about politics or personal agendas. It’s about being the face, hands, feet, and heart of Jesus— at all times and to all people.” 

Bishop Richard F. Stika
Diocese of Knoxville


If you would like to help, please know that your support of the Displaced Family Assistance Fund at Catholic Charities of East Tennessee will go directly to resources and material needs of families affected by these recent events. Please consider clicking the highlighted link to help.