People from different countries and different cultures came together at The Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis for “One Mass with One Mission” Saturday night.
“We’re here today because we’re united in one faith; we’re part of one family,” Bishop Andrew Cozzens said.
The mass of solidarity is part of the “Share the Journey Campaign” launched by Pope Francis in September. It aims to support those who have left, or been displaced from their home countries.
“The slogan is to love your neighbor and to really welcome every refugee and every migrant with open arms,” Estela Villagrán Manancero, the director of Latino ministry said.
The mass kicked off with a cultural celebration.
Manancero organized the medley of cultures and collision of languages that represented the backgrounds of those who worship in the archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“They want to raise their family,” Bishop Cozzens said. “They want to provide for their children.
They want to worship their God. If these things are criminal, then we’re all criminals together.”
The campaign comes as the world is seeing the largest number of refugees and migrants since World War II.
It also comes as the Trump Administration is seeking to reduce the numbers of refugees coming into the United States.
Participants read in Spanish and Swahili among other languages. Organizers hope parishioners take what they heard during the mass and bring a welcoming spirit to refugees in their own communities.
“Be the first ones to greet them with a smile and to say welcome, you’re home,” Manacero said.
Since 2002, Minnesota has ranked sixth in the country for resettling refugees.
Church leaders were encouraging those who attended the mass to write their members of congress and encourage them to support new immigration policies, including protections for children and young adults who call themselves “dreamers.”
Estimates show there are 65 million people displaced in the world.