Winter 2019 President’s Message

"At Catholic Charities we stay focused on the gospel. Pope Francis tweeted on December 18, 2018: 'Every stranger that knocks at our door is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ.'"
-Sister Donna Markham

As the border crisis flared with new intensity this past summer following the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents, I had the opportunity to visit the U.S./ Mexico border at McAllen, Texas and, in the same city, the Humanitarian Respite Center of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

The people I encountered were full of fear and anxiety. Those in Mexico wondered if they would be able to enter the United States in order to begin a life free from gang violence and poverty. Those who made it across the border worried about being separated from each other and being able to survive in this new land.

It was clear to me that these men, women and families were not coming to the United States because they wanted to leave their countries; they were coming here because they were afraid for their lives.

I was happy to see that those who came to Catholic Charities’ respite centers received a warm and caring welcome, befitting a beloved friend or relative. They were given access to a shower, clean clothes and food. The children had a play area stocked with toys. Once they had made contact with their relatives, they were given bus tickets to travel to their families’ homes and, in many cases, to connect with a Catholic Charities agency at their final destination.

At Catholic Charities we stay focused on the gospel. Pope Francis tweeted on December 18, 2018: “Every stranger that knocks at our door is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ.” His tweet pinpoints how we see the migrants and refugees who come to our country. The articles in this issue show how we at Catholic Charities are welcoming these brothers and sisters into the United States and sharing the journey with them toward a life free from fear and danger.

Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD

President & CEO