Speaking to the faithful ahead of National Migration Week, Archbishop Jośe Gomez of Los Angeles encouraged prayer for a society of “solidarity and compassion” that better serves the “poor and least among us.”

“My brothers and sisters, once again we are called to help our neighbors and leaders to feel compassion for the common humanity and destiny that we share with one another, including our immigrant brothers and sisters,” Gomez said. “So let us keep praying for our nation and working hard for immigration reform and let us remember to keep our lives centered on Jesus.”

Gomez, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made the comments during his homily at an afternoon Mass on Sept. 18, to commemorate the start of the U.S. Catholic Church’s National Migration Week from Sept. 19-25.

Before the Mass, held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, 50 ministry leaders were honored for their work and support of immigrants and their families. Civic and diplomatic leaders, including the Consuls of Mexico and Guatemala were present.

Gomez celebrated the Mass, and was joined by clergy from the Dioceses of San Bernardino, Orange, and San Diego. Relics of St. Junipero Serra, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and St. Toribio Romo – saints all of great significance to the immigrant community – were placed by the altar during the Mass.

During the homily, Gomez lamented that the nation’s immigration system hasn’t been addressed for decades, saying that “we need to pray harder for our government officials and lawmakers,” while never losing hope that immigration reform can be realized.

This year’s National Migration Week comes amid an ongoing immigration crisis in the U.S. There were more than 2.2 million migrant encounters nationwide from October 2021 and July 2022, and specifically more than 1.9 million migrant encounters at the southern border during the same span, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Both figures well exceed the respective totals for Fiscal Year 2021 by more than 200,000.

Full story at Crux.