The Fortresses We Want to Protect
fenced child

November 7, 2018 — As I was in El Salvador for meetings of the Jesuit Central and North American network on migration, I heard about this caravan of over 3,000 people making its way on foot from Honduras and wanting to reach the United States. The latest news is that it has crossed the border of Guatemala and Mexico and is headed toward the United States.

This caravan started spontaneously in the north-western part of Honduras gathering momentum as it approached Guatemala. They traveled with practically nothing. How do you feed that many people for weeks? It is not unlike the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Many generous people along the way have supported the people in the caravan by giving them food and water. These people are truly acting as Jesus did by being in solidarity with the people of the caravan.

Why are so many people walking so many kilometers? They are desperate. They have nothing to lose. They live in constant insecurity surrounded by gangs that endanger their lives and the lives of their children. They want to have a life where they can properly feed their children, give them an education, give them some measure of health care. They want to give them things that we take for granted in North America. In addition, they have had enough of living desperately, barely surviving.

Some of us in North America want to keep them out. Listening to President Trump describe these people, you would think that the United States was under attack by a foreign army. Here, in North America, we have built a comfortable life for ourselves mostly at the expense of other countries. The main reasons why we are so rich is that we have made other countries so poor through our economic policies. Our multinational companies have given us very cheap products at the expense of the people from our Southern neighbours. Moreover, when these people have risen up to protest, we use different means at our disposal to suppress them. Recently canonized, Oscar Romero raised his voice in favour of his people in El Salvador back in the 70s. He paid for it with his life.

As the inequities keep growing for a variety of reasons, what will we do here in North America? Will we remain indifferent and keep silent? Will we try to prevent the people that are seeking justice by supporting politicians like President Trump? Alternatively, will we be in solidarity with them and demand that our governments treat these people with dignity. We must tear down the walls of Fortress North America. We are all part of one human race. Our Catholic social teaching calls us to treat others with dignity and challenges us to be in solidarity with the poor. So I ask you: What are you going to do?

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Norbert Piché





Recent News

May 16, 2019 — This past Saturday, May 11, the Jesuit Province of Canada celebrated the priestly ordination of Adam Douglas Hincks, SJ (Canada) and Edward Dawson Penton, SJ (Canada) and 5 diaconal ordinations at Saint Paul's Basilica in Toronto.

May 16, 2019 — Here is a brief summary of news and events that have happened or will happen in the next few days.

Father Gilles Morissette died in the evening of May 12, 2019, at the infirmary of Richelieu. He was in his 80th year and in religious life for 56 years. He devoted much of his time to spiritually accompanying people "who have been placed on his way".

May 16, 2019 — The magazines Relations and Au cœur du monde have just launched their new editions. These have us travlling to various places leading us to view the world in a critical and contemplative manner.

May 16, 2019 — From May 1 to 3, dozens of Directors of Apostolates gathered at the Villa St. Martin retreat centre in Montreal. They began to reflect about that very same question: how to start appropriating the UAP in our local Canadian contexts.

May 16, 2019 — The Jesuit Curia in Rome has just published a set of resources entitled: “Praying with the Preferences”, which provides seven documents to enable the reader not only to pray but to enter more deeply into the journey of renewal and conversion offered by the UAP.

April 23, 2019 — In honor of Earth Day this week, JRS/USA and the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology are answering your questions about climate and displacement.

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