On Sunday, Sept. 29, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Shrine, Lindenwold, opened their doors to celebrate Mass on the international World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The message was clear: all are welcome here.
World Day of Migrants and Refugees
In a message for the day, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, noted that the day is not about where people come from, but rather their unique God-given human dignity, especially as the world is in the midst of the greatest global forced displacement crisis on record. “It reflects our call as people of faith to welcome our brothers and sisters, promote their well-being, protect them from cruelty and human indifference, and assist in their integration into our community.”
Indeed, on the bright and sunny day in Lindenwold, it did not seem to matter where anyone came from, as pews were packed with individuals and families from all over the world who joined in fellowship. Celebrating Mass was Father Vincent Guest, pastor, who recently returned from the 10th Camden Diocesan Share the Journey Solidarity Pilgrimage to the Rio Grande Valley.
Outside of the church, parishioners, volunteers, and Catholic Charities staff were prepared for the festivities following Mass: a spread of ethnic foods, music, games and, to everyone’s delight, a Mister Softee truck.
“What a view,” said Patrick Barry, Catholic Charities’ director of Refugee Resettlement, as he watched the crowds of attendees mix and mingle. Many were refugees welcomed into the community under his leadership over the years.
“People from all over the world breaking bread together,” he said. “Children and families playing and laughing together on this beautiful fall day. No matter where you are from, there’s no greater sight than this scene of happiness and love, especially in the spirit of the Share the Journey campaign.”