Sister Sharon Altendorf recently was a panelist in two webinars on welcoming immigrants. She tells of her experiences below.
The first was with the Incarnate Word Sisters in an international event with the other panelists from Mexico and Peru.
Advocacy Webinars: Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees A future that reveals our love: How can we advocate for hospitable communities?
USCCB Justice for Immigrants
Providing Welcome at the Southern Border
(No link available.)
What I shared in this webinar was that San Antonio, Texas, a city with a CHARTER OF COMPASSION, collaborating and responding daily in accompanying and orienting migrants flowing through our hub/heart city. Last month we had the tragedy of the death of 56 migrants smuggled in an unrefrigerated 18 wheeler with temperatures of over 100 degrees. Immediately there was a prayer vigil on the main plaza. The next night SA Stands, an advocacy group to which I belong, led a session to ask for systemic change. San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, M. Sp. S. thenpresided over a Mass in the Cathedral with interfaith participation. At the months’ mind date the people of the area where this happened (see picture) offered another special prayer memorial.
Below is a vision of the collaboration efforts in San Antonio
- Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC) welcoming migrants daily at the bus station and airport
- Interfaith Welcome Coalition (established in 2014) (I have been a Board member until recently and now continue as a volunteer.)
- City of San Antonio (Welcoming at the airport, Migrant Resource Center, and hotel services)
- Catholic Charities (managing hotel services and so much more)
- Plaza de Paz (Respite care sponsored by the Episcopal Church and LIRS)
- SA Mennonite Church Respite Center & Casa Maria y Marta
- Mobile Loaves and Fishes
- San Antonio Food Bank
- LDS church – volunteers and support with food