With the backdrop of the rusted iron slats of the 10-metre wall along the US-Mexico border, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley and a dozen other bishops prayed on Tuesday for compassion and for a return to ideals that welcome immigrants, reports CNS.
More than 300 people formed the outdoor congregation on the US side of the border and hundreds more participated on the Mexican side, receiving Communion pressed into hands that stretched between the slats, illustrating that, as one teenage member of the choir put it, 'we are all one community - we are all bilingual and bicultural.'
Referring to a visit by Pope Francis last summer to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where migrants from the Middle East and Africa try to enter Europe illegally, Cardinal O'Malley in his homily quoted the Pope's comments about the 'globalisation of indifference.'
'We have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters,' Pope Francis said. 'We have fallen into the hypocrisy of the priest and the Levite whom Jesus described in the parable of the good Samaritan.'
Cardinal O'Malley quoted Pope Francis further: 'The culture of comfort, which makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people.'
The Mass at the intersection of International Street and Nelson capped a two-day experience of the border region for bishops from as far away as Atlanta and Guatemala. Beginning with a Mass the day before at San Xavier del Bac Mission outside Tucson, which dates from when the entire region was part of Mexico, the bishops then walked along rough desert paths used by migrants.
Photo: Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona blesses people on the Mexican side of the border as he distributes Communion through the border fence on Tuesday in Nogales, Arizona
FULL STORY At border Mass, US bishops call for compassion, immigration reform (CNS)