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

Jim Wogan News 5 Comments

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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. 


Comments 5

  1. Please tell people how they can directly support these efforts. Should we send checks to St. Patrick Church?

  2. Dear Bishop Stika,
    Sorry, but I disagree with your stance. There ARE immigration laws already on the books and now finally have a President and Department of Justice determined to enforce them. I feel compassion for these families but the reality is they brought this “unnecessary stress” upon themselves if they entered this country illegally. What is the Church’s teaching on following the Rule of Law?

  3. Dear Bishop Stika,
    I was so pleased to read your words concerning the arrests and detentions in Morristown. Thank you for speaking out. The actions of ICE do not become our country and certainly they are completely contrary to our Catholic and Christian faith. I would be grateful if you could consider issuing a statement to be read in all churches in the Diocese and given to other Christian church and religious leaders with your response to Morristown, giving a clarification about Catholic teaching regarding immigrants and human rights and our opposition to such ICE activity. We cannot remain silent or acquiescent as a Church or people while innocent families are being separated by these actions. Thank you for what you have said. Please continue to take a lead in order to bring this unfortunate situation to a complete halt.
    Thanking you.

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