Archdiocese celebrates National Migration Week with Mass

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Archdiocese celebrates National Migration Week with Mass

Auxiliary Bishop Mark Bartosic was the main celebrant during a multicultural Mass in observance of National Migration Week at Holy Name Cathedral on Jan. 5, 2019. This year’s National Migration Week theme was “Promoting a Church and World for All.” The Mass highlighted the ethnic diversity of the Archdiocese of Chicago through multilingual readings and music in languages such as English, Spanish, Polish, Swahili and Tagalog. The Mass included a Spanish choir from St. Michael the Archangel Church (Chicago), a Polish choir from Holy Trinity Church (Chicago) and a Tagalog choir from St. Martha Church (Morton Grove). Immigrants representing more than 30 countries participated in the Mass wearing their traditional attire. (Karen Callaway/ Chicago Catholic)
Dung Duy Dau (center) from St. Henry Parish represents Vietnam during the procession.
Dolores Matias (left) represents her native Panama in the opening procession. (Karen Callaway/ Chicago Catholic)
Participants pray during Mass. (Karen Callaway/ Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Bartosic incenses the altar during Mass. (Karen Callaway/ Chicago Catholic)
Auxiliary Bishop John Manz, right, joins Bishop Bartosic in celebrating Mass. (Karen Callaway/ Chicago Catholic)
Bishop Bartosic accepts the gifts. (Karen Callaway/ Chicago Catholic)
Participants share the sign of peace during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A deacon distributes Communion by the cup to a participant. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Representatives of about 20 countries in traditional dress processed into Holy Name Cathedral before the 5:15 p.m. Mass Jan. 5, offering a human reminder of the gifts immigrants have brought to the church in Chicago.

They came from Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia to participate in the Mass, held each year on Epiphany, the beginning of National Migration Week.

Bishop Mark Bartosic, the main celebrant of the Mass, said the main message of Epiphany — usually celebrated as the commemoration of the visit of the magi, the three kings or wise men from the East, to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem — is that God’s love and salvation is for everyone.

“This coming of God among his own people should be manifest to all nations,” Bishop Bartosic said. “That should be proclaimed to all nations.”

What’s more, he said, Jesus went beyond saying that he was the light of the world to tell his disciples that they, too, are the light of the world.

“You are the light of the world,” he said. “The star that guides the nations to Christ is you, the church. You are a beacon. The Lord has given us his light for one reason and for one reason only: that those who have not known Christ might be attracted to him.”

Looking at the congregation in front of him, the bishop recalled the first reading from the book of Isaiah, which talks about all the nations coming to do homage to God in Jerusalem.

“What is Isaiah trying to tell us? He’s telling us that heaven is going to look a lot like this.”

Dolores Matias, who was born in Panama, attended with her granddaughter. It was their first time at the Mass.

“I got here when I was 14 years old,” said Matias, who arrived in Chicago 52 years ago to stay with her sister and brother-in-law in Little Village and go to school. She had early ambitions of becoming a Spanish teacher, but ended up following her older sister into social work, and she recently retired from a job with the state of Illinois.

Her sister and brother-in-law worked with an organization that helped immigrants learn English and acclimate to life in Chicago, she said. They didn’t differentiate between those who entered the United States legally or illegally.

“Everyone needs help,” she said. “Everyone needs guidance. That hasn’t changed. Everyone comes with the same goal. The most important thing is to help the next one.”

She enjoyed the display of cultures at the cathedral, she said, because it reminded her of the variety of countries represented at her citizenship ceremony years ago.

“I thought Panama was diverse,” she said.

Dung Duy Dao, from St. Henry Parish, represented Vietnam. It was his first time at the Mass, and he said he was very happy to represent his home country.

“I want people to see that we are Catholic,” he said.

Herald and Margaret Figueiredo represented their native India, something they’ve done for the past several years.

“It’s a tradition for us now,” said Herald Figueiredo, who belongs to Holy Trinity Parish in Westmont. “It’s especially important with some of the things that are going on now.”

Emily Schwab, a member of the Pastoral Migratoria at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, spoke to the challenges faced by people trying to enter the United States at its southern border.

Schwab joined her pastor and several other pastors on a visit to Tijuana, Mexico, in October. The group helped out at shelter for migrant women and children run by two Scalabrinian sisters.

The more than 100 people living at the shelter were missing their husbands and fathers, Schwab said, and each had her own story of why she was fleeing. While the Chicago volunteers helped as much as they could, what they did most was listen.

“It was a visit of accompaniment,” she said. “I talked at length with the women and the children. The daily reality of migrants became real, became human. It wasn’t just something I read about in a newspaper. The women and children I met, they are my sisters and brothers in Christ, they are people with the same basic needs and the same hopes and dreams as ours.”


  • migrants
  • national migration week

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