Photo journal: Reflections on my experience at the USCCB Pastoral Encounter with Migrants at the Border

Dear Faith Community,

On a recent visit to El Paso and Hatch, NM, I was truly blessed to meet such caring and generous communities. The visit lifted my spirit and gave me hope during these challenging times. I was welcomed with open arms and felt such strong kindness that it inspires me in my work in immigration. I wish to thank all those I met, including the farm workers in the area, and those in the Dioceses of El Paso and Las Cruces. Bless you all, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

- Miguel Naranjo

Distinguished members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke to the press at Centro de los Trabajadores Agricolas Fronterizos in El Paso, as part of the USCCB Pastoral Encounter with Migrants at the border on Sept. 23-27. They discussed the crucial and dignified work that agricultural workers do to provide for their families and communities across the United States.

The community celebrated Mass in Hatch, NM, at Our Lady of Worship Parish Hall on Sept. 26. Texas and New Mexico saw an influx of asylum seekers in April. The parishioners discussed how they had welcomed the newcomers in the following months. Members of the migrant farm workers community spoke about the difficulty of their work, recognizing the value of providing a service to the community.

The trip to New Mexico would not be complete without seeing beautiful traditional dances like the ones below. It was meaningful to see more than 200 people gathered to watch the performances. The children were happy to be sharing their heritage and the parents were proud to see them continue these traditions.

Thursday ended with an unscheduled and emotional visit to a memorial of the Aug. 3 attack at Walmart in El Paso. CLINIC Board Vice President Bishop Mark J. Seitz and two of his priests spoke about the events, described the Catholic community’s resilience and strength, and prayed over the city.