The Catholic diocese of San Jose held a prayer service for immigration reform and reunification of migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday night at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph.

Bishop Patrick McGrath presided over the service and began with, “pray for those who can’t come to public service such as this” to an almost-packed church.

The prayer service in Spanish and English presented three sets of testimonials.

Taking his cue from the Bible about Joseph, Mary and Jesus fleeing from Herod to Egypt, McGrath related old Egypt to modern times, saying “is like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.”

“They have no option. When people live in a place of danger, they have a right to live elsewhere. A nation’s sovereignty must be respected. But each nation has a moral obligation,” McGrath said.

McGrath added that the U.S. is using “unconscionable tactics to drive asylum seekers deep into the desert” and that “the policy that separates children (from their families) is morally reprehensible, crafted only to send a message not to come to the U.S.”

“The U.S. is a country of immigrants and refugees. All of us are refugees and immigrants. For decades, we have been a refuge for tyranny, the hungry and encourage them to build the land that has become their own,” McGrath told the crowd.

The prayer service was attended by lay leaders, faith-based community organizations, migrants, refugees, priests, religious and St. Joseph parishioners. Aside from Catholic Charities, other organizations represented at the reception after the service included: People Acting in Community Together, Faith Reentry Collaborative, Amigos de Guadalupe Center for Justice and Empowerment and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for  Children and Families.

Miner said the service was hastily put together in response to Trump’s order to separate families. Newly installed Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement Fr. Jon Pedigo said they did not expect this large of a turn-out.

Full story at Mercury News.