Saturday brought my wife and to Hamilton, Ohio, as we once engaged in our regular game of “Where are we going to live next year?” The city of 62,000 sits north of Cincinnati on the Whitewater River.
After driving around town, and somewhat limited in our ability to traipse by foot, we found ourselves with time to kill. Thus, it was quite lucky to discover Mass was about to begin at St. Julie Billiart, located just across the street from the unfortunately spelled Marcum Park. St. Julie’s was a gorgeous facility, but it was the opening song that made the biggest impression on me.
The song was a Polish carol titled Zlobie Lezy, or Infant Holy, Infant Lowly. But it wasn’t that version sung on Saturday. This version went like this:
Christ you spoke to us of children: “Let the children come to me
Do not stop them, for the kingdom is for little ones like these
God we grieve now as our nation falls its moral obligation to receive the refugees
I looked down, and sure enough, the lyrics were written in 2019, by Caroly Winfrey Gillette. This was not a song that just happened to match our world today, but was clearly written in response to the ongoing situation on the border.
I was surprised, and impressed. Regardless where one stands on immigration, there should be no dispute among Catholics about the treatment of the children in our care by our government. Jesus’s teachings on the subject of how we as Christians should treat the stranger, the refugee, the immigrant, are unmistakable. I was glad to see St. Julie Billiart and Father Robert Muhelenkamp unafraid to affirm that.
A few hours before we gathered for Mass, 20 people in El Paso were killed in one of the deadliest shootings in American history. By all appearances, the killer was motivated by anti-immigrant views.
As a country, we have to be better. And as Catholics following the words of Christ, we ought to lead the way.