Washington DC - Clergy and religious leaders from the Franciscans, Interfaith Worker Justice, Church World Service and the United Church of Christ led an Ash Wednesday Service just prior to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration to call our nation’s leaders to repentance. Franciscan friar Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of the Franciscan Action Network was among the clergy putting ashes in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of participants and passersby. Fr. Jacek said, “It is a moral failure for 11 million of our brothers and sisters to live in the shadow of our society because of the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. This Ash Wednesday, as we sing in our churches a popular Lenten hymn: ‘We rise again from ashes, from the good we’ve failed to do,’ we call upon our nation to repent, mend its ways and urgently create a clear path toward full citizenship for our immigrant brothers and sisters.”
Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF, a Franciscan sister and the Director of Advocacy for Franciscan Action Network, cited Isaiah 58:6 in her remarks: “We enter the season of Lent, season of repentance for individual and structural failings, marked by ashes to remind ourselves and others that the fasting God calls for in scripture is release of those bound unjustly and not turning our backs on those crying out for compassionate justice and freedom.”
The faith leaders called for national repentance from the structural sin of our broken immigration system that separates thousands of families every year and leaves children without parents. The faith organizations are calling on Congress to pass fair, compassionate immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million people without documentation forced to live in the shadows of our society.
The service was held on the front lawn of the United Methodist Building, at 100 Maryland Ave NE in Washington, DC. Other clergy included: Rev. Michael Livingston, Interfaith Worker Justice Policy Director, Former President of National Council of Churches; Rev. Mari Castellano, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministry; Rev. Noel Andersen, Church World Service- Immigration Refugee Program.
Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform U.S. public policy related to peacemaking, care for creation, poverty, and human rights.