South Jersey pilgrims journey to the border

South Jersey pilgrims journey to the border

Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, leads pilgrims from the Diocese of Camden in prayer at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this week.
Photo by Mary McCusker

A man in Tijuana, Mexico, holds his son Jan. 3 next to a section of the wall separating Mexico and the United States.
(CNS photo/Mohammed Salem, Reuters)

This week a group of pilgrims from the Diocese of Camden journeyed to the U.S.-Mexico border to learn more about the migrants who come to the United States seeking a better life, what Catholics are called to do in response, and the complexities surrounding migration.

Taking part in the latest Share the Journey pilgrimage are Catholic Charities employees and pilgrims from Rutgers-Camden, Stockton University and Rowan College at Gloucester County. They are spending time at the Humanitarian Respite Center at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, located in the border town of McAllen, Texas. The center was set up by Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, to respond to the needs of families entering the United States after enduring a long journey and processing at facilities.

The center welcomes new journeyers, most of them single mothers with children on their way to join relatives in other states, who had purchased them bus tickets out of the border town. While waiting to catch their busses, these migrants stay at the center for a few hours, or overnight, and receive meals, showers, legal advice, medical attention and clean clothes.

Organized by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden Share the Journey solidarity pilgrimages to the U.S.-Mexico border offer Catholics in South Jersey the opportunity to journey to the peripheries and the margins of society, as Pope Francis spoke of in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, as well as in the #SharetheJourney campaign that he launched in August 2017.

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