Work, humanity and bridges of collaboration are needed to make progress in dealing with migration, advises the archbishop of Tijuana, Mexico.

The archbishop, Most Rev. Francisco Moreno Barrón, visited the Oakland diocese at the invitation of Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ. Archbishop Moreno concelebrated the Mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe and gave the homily on Dec. 1.

He visited four parishes to offer catechesis in advance of the celebration. While keeping his long-time commitment to come to Oakland, the archbishop spent considerable time checking on the situation in his home diocese. On Nov. 30, he spoke with Michele Jurich of The Catholic Voice. Hector Medina, who coordinates Latino ministry for the Diocese of Oakland, served as translator.

“What we need today is work and humanity; what we need less are walls,” Archbishop Moreno said. “We need to build bridges of collaborators that allow us to encounter together the roads of integral progress. Even through difficult times, in the north and Mexico, we remain open to a new beginning and better future by presenting with trust our constant prayer to our Lord.”

Pope St. John Paul II named Archbishop Moreno auxiliary bishop of Morelia in 2002. He served there for 6½ years before being appointed bishop of Tlaxcala by Pope Benedict XVI. He served there for 8 years, 2 months before being named archbishop of Tijuana, Mexico, by Pope Francis two years ago.

“The human being has the right to immigrate,” he said. “In Tijuana, we have had open arms and hearts for the migrants. This time it took us by surprise, the abrupt and numerous migrants from Central America. Today they are on the border in Tijuana. It’s not that Tijuana is against migrants. The news does not reflect the profound reality because Tijuana has migrants and continues to welcome our brother migrants.

“At this time, there is a government shelter, where 6,000 migrants stay in very adverse conditions. But also they are still working.

“The Catholic Church has shelters and they are overwhelmed. But they still welcome 700 migrants. In these church centers they are preparing 2,500 meals a day for these migrant brothers and sisters. A group of priests and nuns are offering spiritual help to those who are in the biggest shelter.

“I called all the parishes for solidarity; to send their food, clothing and medicine to the shelters and Catholic Charities.

“This situation is going to continue for a long time, maybe more than a year. We need to reorganize continually so we — the government, city and state and society in Tijuana — can offer better service. I see with great hope the change of the new government. [The new president of Mexico was inaugurated Dec. 1.]

How may the People of God in the United States respond? “The Mexican people have welcomed the migrants’ arrival, all the way from the south to the north.

“We are asking for international organizations to do so as well, for their solidarity with the human rights groups to meet this extreme need. This is important because it will be really difficult for Tijuana to be able to serve them by itself.”

Full story at The Catholic Voice.