We gather today in the presence of the God of infinite love and compassion. It is that God who has called us here today to bear witness to the dignity of every human person and to hold our elected representatives accountable for the atrocities perpetrated on our brothers and sisters—immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers—mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles. We remember especially the children—frightened, alone, hungry, and cold. These are God’s children—our children. We must not—we will not—let this continue. We pray loudly, clearly: Stop the inhumanity—NOW!

We are here today to stand with God’s precious children. They cry out and so we must speak.

Read or Sing and Reflect “Who Will Speak” by Marty Haugen

Who will speak if we don’t?
Who will speak if we don’t?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if we don’t?

Read Out Loud and Reflect:  Let us listen to the children . . .

You may recall that over the past few weeks a group of attorneys interviewed more than 60 children at U.S. Border Patrol facilities in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley. These are their stories as reported by HuffPost June 28, 2019 (Source:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/migrant-children-describe-detention_n_5d1646ffe4b03d61163af666)

    • A 12-year-old from Ecuador talks about mistreatment by officers:  “The officers took everything from us except our documents. They even took our shoelaces. There was a mother in our group traveling with a very young baby. The officers took her diapers, baby formula, and nearly everything else she had and threw it away.The water here is horrible. It tastes like chlorine.The officials here are very bad to us. During the night when we’re trying to sleep, they come in and wake us up, yelling and scaring us. The guards who are yelling don’t speak much Spanish, so it’s hard to understand what they’re saying.Every night my sisters keep asking me, ‘When will our mommy come to get us?’ I don’t know what to tell them. It’s very hard for all of us to be here.”

Prayers of Petition:

Let us pray,

We beseech heaven and all who can hear. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear those whose very lives cry out for justice. Break open our hearts and turn our hands and our lives to the service of your people, especially those most in need of your care, Oh God.

Response to prayers of petition: Stop the Inhumanity.

For those forced to flee their countries of origin because of fear, violence, corruption, and poverty, we cry out: Stop the Inhumanity.

For the president, his staff and Cabinet, for members of Congress and all who are complicit in inflicting suffering and harm on immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees that they repent, end the torture and stop the violence, we cry out: Stop the Inhumanity.

For all who denigrate and scapegoat immigrants and refugees for their own political gain, that they might see the profound harm they have done to the fabric of our nation and seek instead the common good, we cry out: Stop the Inhumanity.

For the children who have been taken from their families and incarcerated by our government and for those who love them and prayer for their safe return, we cry out: Stop the Inhumanity.

For the all those living in filthy, inhumane conditions in U.S. detention centers, we cry out: Stop the Inhumanity.

For those good-hearted people watching the suffering of immigrants and feeling powerless to act, that they might embrace their power and cry out: Stop the Inhumanity.

For the all our migrant sisters and brothers who have died needlessly in our rivers and deserts and jails, we remember:

● Oscar Alberto and his daughter Valeria who drowned crossing the Rio Grande;
● Felipe, aged 9 and Jakelin, 8 who died in U.S. custody;
● Jorge Alexander who was murdered in Tijuana as he waited to apply for asylum in the US;
● Six-year-old Gurupreet Kaur who died in a remote desert area of Arizona;
● And for all those whose names we do not know who have died seeking safety for themselves and their children and for those who mourn their loss. We cry out: Stop the Inhumanity.

Final Reflection

For months now, the events at the southern border of our country have broken our hearts and stoked our anger and fear for our neighbors and family in the interior has grown.
The conditions our children face at the border is a stark reminder of the moral bankruptcy of our current immigration policy. The fear of deportation—the fear of separation from their parents that our children live with every day is a reminder of the hardness of our national heart.

And so we pray: God, stir-up our hearts.

Give us courage to rise up and stop this terrible suffering. Give us the strength, as individuals, groups, parishes, and as a society to put an end to these unjust immigration policies.; Give hope to our suffering brothers and sisters, redeem us from our hesitancy to act, and help this country to repent of its violence and brutality. Amen.

And so we cry out to heaven—Stop the inhumanity—NOW!

Stop the inhumanity—NOW!