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May 1, 2006


Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, was the celebrant for Mass on Monday, May 1st at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in which the faithful of the Archdiocese prayed for comprehensive immigration reform. Streaming video of Cardinal Rigali's homily is available at

In his homily, Cardinal Rigali said, "For generations the United States has welcomed immigrants from poverty, persecution and many other difficult situations. It has offered them relief and opportunity; freedom and justice. Above all it has recognized and sustained their human dignity and given them the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of God to provide for their family and to transmit these blessings to us."

The Cardinal also said, "This Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker calls us to reflect on the national vocation of our country as a receptive land. The blessings of which are still to be shared with others. In the question of immigration there are many issues involved many problems to be solved with justice, equity and fraternal love. We know that our nation needs immigration reform but immigration reform that is comprehensive and that gives us an immigration policy that is just, humane and compassionate."

Cardinal Rigali urged the people of the Archdiocese to pray that political leaders will pass moral, just and comprehensive reforms for our broken immigration system. Rather than turning our backs on our history of welcoming the immigrant, we must find ways to recognize and be grateful for the contributions that immigrants make to our land through their culture.

The Cardinal's efforts are part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) plan for Catholics around the United States to express their concern for the need of comprehensive reform in our nation's immigration system on May 1st. For more information on the Catholic initiative for immigration reform, please visit

Cardinal Rigali issued a statement on January 9, 2006 regarding immigration reform and also participated in an interfaith forum at the Archdiocesan Office Center on February 16, 2006 where various religious leaders spoke out about the necessity for immigration reform

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Meredith V. Wilson
Communications Specialist

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