A Roman Catholic cardinal visiting Oklahoma City on Wednesday said he has high hopes that immigration in America will take top priority with President Barack Obama's re-election.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, discussed the plight of the immigrant during a special presentation at Bishop McGuinness High School, 801 NW 50.
Mahony said he noticed that Obama, in his victory speech, said addressing the nation's immigration system would be one of his top five priorities in the next four years. Mahony said many undocumented immigrants across the country are “living in the shadows” of society, caught in our system that is broken.”
Mahony's address to the private Catholic school was one of the Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City centennial celebration activities. Mahony also presided at a special midmorning Mass on Wednesday — another Catholic Charities centennial event — at St. Eugene Catholic Church.
Tim O'Conner, Catholic Charities' executive director, told the students Mahoney's immigration presentation at the school was vital because they are the next generation of leaders.
“It's a privilege for us to talk to you because you are the ones who will carry the torch for us in the years to come and we need your help,” O'Connor said.
Part of teaching
Mahony's presentation included a historical perspective and theological viewpoint about immigration. He said aiding immigrants and refugees is part of Catholic social teaching and noted that when Mary, Joseph and Jesus fled to Egypt to escape King Herod, their flight is perhaps the perfect archetype for today's immigrants seeking shelter and a new way of life in America.
The cardinal recommended that the students ask their relatives about their own family history at Thanksgiving so they could so that someone in the family tree was probably an immigrant to America at one time.
He also urged them to write their elected officials about the need for a more effective immigration policies so that undocumented immigrants can be afforded work permits, pay payroll taxes, get an education and thus “remove fear from this large shadow community.”