Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger issued the following statement on immigration issues.
"It's no surprise that immigration issues and concerns are in the news these days, and weighing heavily on people's minds.
"As a nation of immigrants, the subject feels intensely personal. As Christians, we are called to begin and end with the human person, respecting the dignity of our brothers and sisters, regardless of whether they were born in this country or not.
"A country has a right, and a responsibility, to secure its borders and enforce fair and just immigration laws; but, in that process, we always have to be asking ourselves if we're welcoming the stranger, the way Christ instructed us to, and if the methods and rhetoric used are respecting the human persons at the center of these questions.
"Our moral duty is always to put the person first, never forgetting the wonderful gift that each one of us is to the world from the hands of our Creator.
"Here in the Diocese of Albany, I have learned of some parishes and communities that are looking for resources to help immigrants. I am so heartened by this outpouring of generosity and this spirit of solidarity.
"Fortunately, Catholic Charities offers basic needs services through its food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters to anyone and everyone, without asking about immigration status. Similarly, these programs don't ask about religious affiliation or lifestyle, so there should be no fear or reservation when it comes to using or referring people to these services.
This article originally appeared in The Evangelist. For the full text, visit www.evangelist.org