A day of fellowship at Lindenwold parish

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LINDENWOLD — On Sunday, Sept. 29, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Shrine here opened their doors to celebrate Mass on the international World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The message was clear: all are welcome here.

Worshippers pray at Mass to celebrate the international World Day of Migrants and Refugees at Saint Lawrence Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Shrine, Lindenwold, on Sept. 29.

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

In a message for the day, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, noted that the day is not about where people come from, but rather their unique God-given human dignity, especially as the world is in the midst of the greatest global forced displacement crisis on record. “It reflects our call as people of faith to welcome our brothers and sisters, promote their well-being, protect them from cruelty and human indifference, and assist in their integration into our community.”

A man holds a young boy during Mass to celebrate the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees at Saint Lawrence Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Shrine, Lindenwold, on Sept. 29. At an outdoor Mass at the Vatican on the same day, Pope Francis said, “Christians have a moral obligation to show God’s care for all those who are marginalized, especially migrants and refugees.” Photo by Mary McCusker
Father Vincent Guest speaks to a young boy as he accepts the offertory gifts. Photo below, girls dance during the festival on the parish grounds after Mass.

Indeed, on the bright and sunny day in Lindenwold, it did not seem to matter where anyone came from, as pews were packed with individuals and families from all over the world who joined in fellowship. Celebrating Mass was Father Vincent Guest, pastor, who recently returned from the 10th Camden Diocesan Share the Journey Solidarity Pilgrimage to the Rio Grande Valley. 

Outside of the church, parishioners, volunteers, and Catholic Charities staff were prepared for the festivities following Mass: a spread of ethnic foods, music, games and, to everyone’s delight, a Mister Softee truck. 

Photos by Mary McCusker

“What a view,” said Patrick Barry, Catholic Charities’ director of Refugee Resettlement, as he watched the crowds of attendees mix and mingle. Many were refugees welcomed into the community under his leadership over the years.

“People from all over the world breaking bread together,” he said. “Children and families playing and laughing together on this beautiful fall day. No matter where you are from, there’s no greater sight than this scene of happiness and love, especially in the spirit of the Share the Journey campaign.”