Priests for Justice for Immigrants (PJI) was established in 2005 as a coalition of 200 immigrant and native-born priests, representing over 150 parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago and members of religious communities who have stood in solidarity with immigrants and engaged in education, pastoral care and legislative advocacy.
We work in collaboration with the Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education and its various networks to promote immigration reform. We work per the principles set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops through the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform.
Compelled by our conviction of faith and a respect for the dignity and sanctity of every human life, the Priests for Justice for Immigrants program works to influence the public conversation regarding immigration policy and to promote the basic human rights and well-being of immigrants and their families living in our communities.
We promote the passage of a compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform that respects the fundamental and basic human dignity, rights and contributions of undocumented workers. Click here for more information.
We build learning in communities to transform people's minds and hearts. As teachers and co-learners, we engage parish leaders and parishioners as we raise awareness of our undocumented brothers and sisters' struggles and contributions to the Church and society. We offer services or provide resources for preaching, theological reflection, speaking engagements, parish-focused liturgical activities and urban/border experiential learning trips. Click here for more information.
We accompany the thousands of undocumented immigrants as they face discrimination and abuse by employers, unscrupulous lawyers, and the horror of separation from their wives, husbands and children. Click here for more information.
We assist and advise the development and facilitation of formation curriculum and reflection sessions related to the Immigrant-to-Immigrant Ministry (e.g. Pastoral Migratoria) that integrate Catholic social teaching, faith sharing and Scriptural reflection.
We provide and support multi-media messaging for activities and events involving the Priests for Justice for Immigrants to maximize awareness through media.
All priests are invited to attend meetings of the Priests for Justice for Immigrants that take place the third Monday of each month. For more information contact the Office for Immigrant Affairs at 312.534.8105.
Click here to see an album of PJI’s ministries.
For more information on the Priests for Justice for Immigrants, including how to join, contact Fr. Larry Dowling, PJI moderator at 773.522.3050 or Elena Segura, director of the Office for Immigrant Affairs at 312.534.5333.
Who We Are
The Sisters and brothers of immigrants was founded in January 2007 in the greater metropolitan Chicago area by Catholic Sisters. The original collaboration centered on the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform initiatives coupled with volunteer members of congregations of women religious. The group chose to expand membership in ever widening circles, to associate members of religious congregations, to religious brothers, and to all those committed to justice for immigrants.
As sisters and brothers of immigrants, we reverence the dignity of each person, and each person’s fundamental right to life – food, shelter and clothing, employment, health care, and education. Therefore, we recognize an urgent duty and challenge to stand in solidarity with immigrants.
We commit ourselves to unite with the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform to become a powerful collective voice seeking justice for immigrants. We commit ourselves to call forth government’s responsibility to promote human dignity, to protect human rights, and to build the common good.
We do this in response to the Gospel call and in our belief in the shared strength of all people of good will.
What We Do
Below is a sample of what we, the Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants, do:
- Provide pastoral care at McHenry Detention Center supporting detainees.
- Pray on buses with deportees as they leave the Broadview Detention Center for O'Hare Airport.
- Provide support of Ministry Centers operated by women and men religious in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
- Click here for more information.
Ministry of Advocacy
- Meet with Senators and Representatives at a local, state and national level to discuss various immigration issues.
- Click here for more information.
Ministry of Action
- Since March of 2012, the Sisters and Brothers hold a monthly public witness at various locations throughout Chicago to call attention to immigration issues and reform.
- Click here for more information.
More InformationFor more information on the Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants, including how to join, visit our website. See our brochure, or contact Kathy Murtha at [email protected].
The Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education serves in the leadership role of evangelization, accompaniment and welcoming of immigrants. As disciples of Christ, we are called to build community, to accompany and to empower the marginalized, and to work towards the transformation of society seeking justice for all.
An Immigration Parish Coordinator (IPC) will coordinate efforts in his or her non-immigrant parish to help parishioners get closer to the realities immigrants experience in our society through advocacy, education and accompaniment. An IPC encounters Christ in this experience, and responds with actions of solidarity by advocating for immigration reform. The IPC also coordinates opportunities to engage in the empowerment and accompaniment of immigrants, often by connecting parishes with an Immigrant to Immigrant Ministry like Pastoral Migratoria/Polish Immigrant to Immigrant Ministry.
AdvocacyRooted in the Gospel message and based on Catholic Social Teaching, IPCs act with and on behalf of the vulnerable and oppressed in society, and advocates per the U.S. Catholic Bishops' position on immigration reform. With the assistance of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigrant Education, an IPC can stay current on issues and facilitate ways to participate in actions that facilitate living in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers.
AccompanimentThe IPC recognizes the God-given dignity of all people, especially those most vulnerable. Pope Francis reminds us that “an evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself in necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others” (Evangelii Gaudium, 24). The IPC is willing to facilitate intentional connections to advocate, share faith and be ministered to by our immigrant sisters and brothers. It is a modern-day experience of the Road to Emmaus.
EducationBecause IPCs recognize Christ in the face of others, they work toward the transformation and conversion of hearts and minds in themselves and their communities through educational efforts. An IPC can provide a learning opportunity for a parish group or coordinate with nearby parishes.
PhotosClick here to see an album of the ministry.
This program is designed for high school and college age students, Youth and Young Adults. This is an important age for youth and young adults as they recognize the systems of injustice, especially for the immigrants in the U.S. They want to challenge this system and work to change it. This program is designed to be a resource for you as a teacher, a youth or campus minister, or an administrator that works with youth and young adults.
Below are opportunities we offer to educate your youth and young adult on the issues of immigration, undocumented immigrants, and the unaccompanied minors. There are resources for education and action, guest speakers on a variety of topics, and immersion trips/retreats that build community and solidarity.
Learning and Living in Solidarity with the Immigrant
Relationships grow when we put a human face to the issue. Solidarity becomes a reality. This is the goal of our immersion experiences. The following are some of the activities you can choose from to design your immersion experience to best fit the needs of your youth and young adults:
- Broadview Detention Center Rosary
Join others as we pray the Rosary on Friday mornings before detainees are deported and transported out to their destination. Provide support for their families. Pray for an end to deportations. Learn more here.
- Immigration Court Watch
Stand in solidarity and serve as a presence in the Detained Immigrant Court. Be a public witness to bring transparency to this broken system. Report back to the coordinator who records weekly.
- Migrant Day Laborers
Meet the laborers who live in the shadows, waiting for work, searching for hope. Share food with them, listen to their stories. Learn firsthand what accompaniment means.
Talk with a youth or young adult who was brought to this country as an infant or child. They remain undocumented, but continue their search for dignity. Listen to their story, struggles and dreams.
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine
Learn the story of Juan Diego and the spiritual significance of this story of accompaniment. Visit the shrine and experience this cultural event.
- Pastoral Migratoria
Meet Polish and Hispanic Immigrants who empower each other as they work for dignity and justice.
- Immigration Lawyers
Talk to and ask questions of the ones at the front line of serving the undocumented. Why does coming to the U.S. without documentation become a necessity? What laws need to change so this will end?
Any of these opportunities can be combined to create your immersion trip or retreat experience. Contact us to set one up, or click here for additional Y & YA education resources.
Contact the OIA Education Project Coordinator, Kathy McGourty, at [email protected].