By KELVIN SARAVIA
Special to the Catholic Herald
Following the indications of National Migration Week supported by the Bishops in the United States and following the guidelines of the pastoral letter of the Bishop of Arlington, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, thousands of immigrant Catholic families gathered this weekend in the main gym at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria on January 14. More than 4000 people attended the Mass, organized by the Charismatic Renewal and supported by other diocesan councils.
The celebrant was Father José E. Hoyos, director of the diocesan Spanish Apostolate, and was concelebrated by Father Luis H. Quiñónez, parochial vicar of Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria.
In his homily, Father Hoyos said, “Bishop Michael Burbidge has prayed for and supported our immigrant families and has thanked the churches who for many years have welcomed foreigners and refugees.
“Today in this Mass of healing, we join also to ask God for the new government, that immigrant families will leave behind fears about massive deportations and will not forget that our office is here to support, and never lose faith or hope.”
People participated in liturgical songs, prayers, Eucharist and heard testimonials.
Churches in the diocese are not the same as they were 20 years ago, said Father Hoyos, due to pastoral programs, the effort of diocesan councils and priests who collaborate with Hispanic ministry. The Hispanic Catholic community continues to grow in faith.
Father Hoyos asked for prayers for the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic Ministry, which will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, Aug. 20, 2018. The Encuentro will encourage church leaders to be active and participate in the New Evangelization.