The Greensboro News and Record has an article about the work that Jack Timlin, CM is doing in the process of building trust with undocumented workers.
Faith in Action collaborates with the local police in issuing IDs that will let police know who the people are as well as start creating a record that will help them become citizens.
“They come, one by one. Some smile. Some look nervous. Some bring in their children to watch. Many look older than their years — a testament to stress, a tough life, to something that hit them way before they walk into this small room beside the sanctuary at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.”…
The Rev. David Fraccaro explains “We want to build bridges .
“This ID is not a license to drive or replace a government ID, and it’s not going to stop you from getting into trouble for illegal activity, and it will not impact your immigration status. However, if immigration reform passes — and dear God, I hope it does — it will be important to have this ID as a record of who you are, something authentic, so you can build a path toward citizenship.’’
“Timlin is at the end of a long Sunday and a weekend of five Masses, which attract 1,400 parishioners to his 85-year-old church beside East Lee Street.
He has ministered to congregations in Philadelphia; Princeton, N.J.; and Brooklyn. Now, in his 34th year as a priest, he is in Greensboro. He has spent four years at St. Mary’s, a church of 500 families, most of whom are immigrants. Timlin hears about their fears. And he understands.
Timlin is a first-generation American whose parents came from Ireland in 1950 and settled in northeast Philadelphia. So, he sees America as a nation of immigrants — and a nation of laws. And when it comes to immigrants who violated the country’s immigration laws, he has heard the complaints.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘Father, they haven’t done it the right way,’ and ‘They’ve broken the laws,’ and I say, ‘Yes, but consider the circumstances. They came here for the good of their family.’
“Sometimes, the law is not the whole issue, and in our Judeo-Christian heritage, we always welcome the stranger,’’ Timlin says. “They are the real heroes, these people who come here to work hard and struggle to make a better life for themselves and their children.
“Some may not believe that. But I believe that.’’
Please read the moving article about the process of building trust.