Responding with Love

NJFON Executive Director Rob Rutland-Brown reflects on the Pope’s Message to all of us.

Washington, D.C. was abuzz two weeks ago when the Pope arrived to speak with the President, hold an unprecedented address to Congress, and minister to residents not in a position of power. Those of us engaged in serving immigrants were particularly enthusiastic about the Pope’s message of compassion towards migrants.

Pope Francis said of immigrants coming to the United States, “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just, and fraternal.”

I was proud of the Pope for speaking so directly about how Americans should treat immigrants in our midst, and I was also proud of Justice for Our Neighbors, because we seek to carry out a mission each day that bears out this call.

Although JFON is not perfect, our ministry understands the importance of meeting immigrants face to face. We yearn for their stories not only so that we can identify forms of legal relief, but also so that we may come to know our neighbors. Even for those not eligible for immigration legal assistance, we strive to bring a message of welcome and respect.

The Pope reminds us that the magnitude of showing this love transcends one’s political affiliation or religious denomination. I hope JFON, and all Americans, can remember his message.

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