Interfaith Service for Migrants, Immigrants, & Refugees

Feb 21, 2017

An overflow crowd  of 250  people worshipped together at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. James at the “Interfaith Service of Prayer for Compassion and Justice for Migrants, Immigrants, & Refugees.”

Lauren Nassau of South Bend, a member of the Temple Beth El synagogue explained why she came.

"Cuz I felt like I was not a good person a few weeks ago when I didn't do anything, when people were stuck at the airports. So, I thought I should open my ears today to be more conscious and to be more available."

Groups from Notre Dame, Holy Cross and St. Mary’s Colleges, together with La Casa de Amistad, the Islamic Society of Michiana, The Jewish Federation, and several Christian denominations worshipped together and pledged to assist refugees and immigrants.


According to event organizer, Ecumenical Franciscan Reverend Sid Mohn, their common stories connect them all to a common need.


"And I think a recognition that each of their holy stories are stories of people who have been forced to flee to save their lives and have looking for places of save have. People of faith consistently, repeatedly, provide such safe haven."


Mennonites, Muslims, Baptists, Jews, Catholics, and Episcopalians shared their traditions. Syrian Majd Alshouffi shared a Refugee Testimony.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke for the city.

"All of us need to have a sense of home and it is incumbent on all of us to make it possible for others to feel at home wherever they may be."

But it wasn’t a night for political speeches. It was more for 10 year old Paddy Chapman, who came with his mom, Wendy.

Paddy: "I go to Hamilton Traditional School."

Sid: "Okay, and what brings you here tonight?"

Wendy: "Why did we come?"

Paddy: "So then we could pray for all the people come into our... the immigrants."

Wendy: "And why is that important."

Paddy: "Because then people can live free here."

"We're very supportive of the cathedral's stance on social justice issues. And this is something that we believe in deeply as a family," Wendy Chapman said. "We believe this is a free country, that people should be allowed to come here. We need to welcome refugees. We need to find a simpler path for people to come as immigrants and become American citizens."

Reverend Mohn added that it was not hard to convince people to come.

"I've done a lot of social justice organizing throughout my life. This is one of the easiest initiatives that I've undertaken. And again, because I think people were so prepared from their differing faith perspectives to say, 'This is the right thing to do.'"