Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrated a special Mass Sept. 26 in honor of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. He told those gathered at Holy Name Church they “are one people of God,” whether they’ve lived in the United States all their lives or just arrived.
National Migration Week was observed Sept. 20-26 and the week culminated with the observance of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
“It’s so important for us to gather this week in which we honor the richness of the presence of families who come to the United States who are immigrants and refugees,” said Archbishop Kurtz. Those families aren’t unlike the Holy Family, who fled to Egypt escaping “possible death and violence.”
“If we look back not only at the history of our church, but we look back into each one of our lives we will find the presence of the need for welcoming people who are immigrants beginning with our own families,” said the archbishop.
He noted that the Archdiocese of Louisville is “blessed” to have so many, especially those who work for Catholic Charities, “with the ability to welcome.”
Archbishop Kurtz shared with the congregation that his family arrived in the U.S. from Eastern Slovakia in the 1880s.
“Guess where they turned first for help?” the archbishop asked. “They turned to the church, to their parish.”
As a young priest, he had the opportunity to serve individuals and families who’d come to the U.S. from Vietnam, he noted. As a pastor, he also served families from Bosnia, he said. “I learned something very important at that time. When a parish welcomes a family, that not only helps that family, but it changes the parish for the better,” Archbishop Kurtz said.