WOMAN HOLDS FLAG DURING VIGIL Maritza Monterrosa of Martinez, Calif., holds a flag as hundreds of people gather April 10 for an interfaith candlelight vigil for immigrant rights. The march started at St. Peter Martyr Parish in Pittsburg, Calif., and was sponsored by the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization. The theme was "No somos criminales, somos los hijos de Dios" ("We are not criminals, we are children of God"). (CNS)
In several cities, Catholic bishops gave speeches and led prayers. Many participants were encouraged to join the activities at their churches.
Crowds estimated to be as large as 500,000 in Dallas April 9 and in Washington April 10 blocked city streets and surprised even organizers with their size.
The events were part of the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice, aimed at opposing strict immigration enforcement legislation passed by the House in December and encouraging more comprehensive bills that would not criminalize illegal immigrants and those who provide services to them. Organizers also support legislation that would make it possible for the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants to legalize their status.
At an April 10 vigil at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in downtown Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony prayed in Spanish to "the God of one and all" to help members of Congress not be exclusionary, and he asked for the intercession of Mary, an immigrant who fled to Egypt with her son, Jesus.
In St. Louis the day before, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said, "It is not right to make... [continues]
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