Friends of the Border Project

Feb 14, 2022

Our mission is the serve migrants at the border. We Pray for migrants, Advocate for them, Learn about and from them, Support them both at the border and in NYC: PALS.

At the invitation of two Jesuits at the Border, five Ignatian Social Justice people went to Brownsville TX and Reynosa MX to witness the plight of the asylum seeker from the Catholic point of view.

We had Mass with people rejected by Border Patrol and living in an encampment in Reynosa; in McAllen, TX with people Border Patrol allowed to travel to their US sponsors; with people in a carport in a ‘colonia’ in Brownsville, TX; with people (and mariachi music) at the Basilica in San Juan, TX. Before every Mass in the encampment, the priest says “God is with you in your suffering”. Before mass at the McAllen Humanitarian Respite Center, the priest offers hope for their journey. We also worked with an evangelical minister who serves Mayan Guatemalan women in Reynosa and a women with no religious affiliation who gives snacks, hygiene kits, and blankets to migrants for their journey to their US sponsors.

The first day we arrived in Texas, we made packages of the crayons and coloring books donated by SIL parishioners. We took those packages to all our destinations. Coloring with the children was a great ice breaker. We witnessed the Jesuits at the border giving tents and other desperately needed items from SIL parishioners to migrants. Thanks so much to all who donated.

PALS actions:

PRAY | Stations of the Cross for Asylum Seekers: Michelina Nicotera-Taxiera created a moving interpretation of Stations of the Cross, recognizing that asylum seekers embody Christ in our midst, confronting us with the truly horrific journey that many who seek asylum endure on their journey to seek safety and refuge.

ADVOCATE | JRS USA/Advocacy Day: Learn about issues facing refugees and encourage members of congress to take action on their behalf.

LEARN: Some of the Catholic views of the border crisis may inspire you.

  • The Jesuit Border Podcast Two of the Jesuit priests that we visited (Fr. Brian and Fr. Louis) have recorded a series of podcasts about their experiences at the border.  The podcasts are, at times, sad, but also sometimes funny and always inspiring.  The latest one is an interview with Sr. Norma Pimentel, whose Humanitarian Respite Center we also visited.
  • Recent news about migration.  Although migrants and refugees at the southern border of the U.S. may not dominate the news as much as they once did, the conditions in many parts of South and Central America have not improved and desperate people are still looking for a safe place to live and raise their families.  This article describes some of the recent causes and trends surrounding this issue.

SUPPORT: The Jesuits at the Border are always looking for more donations! If you’d like to help out, check out their Amazon wish list (link), which is based on direct feedback from the migrants themselves. Please donate, if you are able!

March 26, 2022 Friend of the Border Event: We invite you to our first event on Saturday March 26th in Wallace Hall and live streamed. We’ll pray the Stations of the Cross and have a panel discussion on immigration. Sign up by emailing Laura de Boisblanc at [email protected].

We hope other parishioners will want to go on a mission trip to the border. If you are interested, please email Laura de Boisblanc at [email protected].