Justice For Immigrants

Exodus 23: 9
You must not oppress the stranger;
you know how a stranger feels,
for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt.

Leviticus 19: 32-34
If a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest
him. You must count him as one of your own countrymen
and love him as yourself—for you were once
strangers yourselves in Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.

Tobit 4: 7-8
Set aside part of your goods for almsgiving. Never
turn your face from any poor man and God will never
turn his from you.

Psalm 82: 2-4
No more mockery of justice,
no more favoring of the wicked!
Let the weak and the orphan have justice,
be fair to the wretched and destitute;
rescue the weak and needy,
save them from the clutches of the wicked!

Psalm 103: 6
Yahweh, who does what is right,
is always on the side of the oppressed.

Proverbs 31: 8-9
Speak, yourself, on behalf of the dumb,
on behalf of all the unwanted;
speak, yourself, pronounce a just verdict,
uphold the rights of the poor, of the needy.

Ecclesiasticus 4: 8-9
To the poor man lend an ear,
and return his greeting courteously.
Save the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor,
and do not be mean-spirited in your judgements.

Isaiah 10: 1-2
Woe to the legislators of infamous laws,
to those who issue tyrannical decrees,
who refuse justice to the unfortunate
and cheat the poor among my people of their rights,
who make widows their prey,
and rob the orphan.

Isaiah 61: 1-2
The spirit of the Lord Yahweh has been given to me,
for Yahweh has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up hearts that are broken;
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
freedom to those in prison;
to proclaim a year of favour from Yahweh.

Jeremiah 22: 3-4
Yahweh says this: Practise honesty and integrity;
rescue the man who has been wronged from the
hands of his oppressor; do not exploit the stranger,
the orphan, the widow; do no violence,
shed no innocent blood in this place.

Micah 6: 8
What is good has been explained to you;
this is what Yahweh asks of you:
only this, to act justly,
to love tenderly,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Zechariah 7: 8-11
(The word of Yahweh was addressed to Zechariah
as follows:) He said: Apply the law fairly, and practise
kindness and compassion toward each other.
Do not oppress the widow and the orphan, the settler
and the poor man, and do not secretly plan evil
against one another.

Liturgy and Prayer Suggestions
One of the most profound ways that we can welcome and embrace diversity in the
Church is to include the cultural signs, symbols, music, and languages of immigrants,
migrants, refugees, and other ethnic communities into our worship services.
By interacting with diverse people who make up our parish community, we are strengthened
in our “catholicity” and are made more aware that we are one in Christ, who has
called us “from every tribe and tongue, people and nation” (Rev 5:9).

Old Testament
New Testament
Sample Intersessions
Music Suggestions
Prayer Service

Liturgy & Prayer


Matthew 25: 35-40
For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty
and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made
me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you
visited me; in prison and you came to see me.
. . . I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of
the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.

Mark 12: 30-31
This is the first [commandment]…you must love the
Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all your strength. The
second is this: You must love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.

Luke 4: 18-19
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to the blind new sight,
to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

Galatians 3: 28
. . . there are no more distinctions between
Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female,
but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2: 5-8
In your minds you must be the same
as Christ Jesus:
His state was divine,
yet he did not cling
to his equality with God
but emptied himself
to assume the condition of a slave,
and became as men are;
and being as all men are,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death,
death on a cross.

Colossians 3: 12-13
You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you,
and you should be clothed in sincere compassion,
in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.

1 John 4: 19-21
Anyone who says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother,
is a liar, since a man who does not love the brother that
he can see cannot love God, whom he has never seen.
So this is the commandment that he has given us,
that anyone who loves God must also love his brother.
JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS a journey of hope

The following intercessions may all be used together for a special liturgy, or particular
intercessions may be chosen for use throughout the liturgical year.
For an end to the violence and poverty that displaces so many people from their
homes and homelands, we pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer.
For our leaders, that they may implement policies that allow for safe migration, just
migrant working conditions, and an end to the detention of asylum seekers, while
protecting our national safety, we pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer
For migrant workers, that they may labor in safe and justice conditions, and that
we who benefit from their labor may be truly grateful for what they provide, we
pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer
For unaccompanied migrant children, that they may be protected from all harm
and reunited with loving families, we pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer
For an end to human trafficking, that the dignity of all of God’s children will be
protected, we pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer
For migrants, refugees, and strangers in our midst, that they may find hope in our
concern for justice and feel the warmth of our love, we pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer
For our community, gathered here today to celebrate our unity under the Lord and
his mother, Mary, that we may come to greater understanding and acceptance of
our differences, we pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer
For all those who are overwhelmed by loneliness, poverty, and despair, that they
may be comforted through our help and kindness, we pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer
For those in special need, that the Lord in his divine mercy may heal the sick, comfort
the dying, and keep travelers safe, we pray to the Lord.
Response: Lord hear our prayer

“In Christ There Is No East or West” by John Oxenham
“One Spirit, One Church” by Kevin Keil
“Pan de Vida” by Bob Hurd
“Service” by Buddy Ceaser (NARL)
“They’ll Know We Are Christians” by Peter Scholtes
“E Na Lima Hana” by David Haas and Joe Camacho
“We Are Many Parts” by Marty Haugen
“Weave One Heart” by Marty Haugen
“Diverse in Culture, Race and Nation” by Ruth Duck
“We Are Called” by David Haas
“Song of the Body of Christ” by David Haas
“Let There Be Peace On Earth” by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

“You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently
than the natives born among you; have the same love
for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the
land of Egypt.” (Lv 19:33-34)

Add a suitable hymn, using suggestions from the preceding section.

Choose a scriptural passage from the preceding section (such as stories
of Exodus, of the Holy Family in Bethlehem, or of their flight to Egypt,
or Matthew’s Gospel.)

I wear the mark of your disapproval
and your often unspoken words
pierce straight to my soul,
“Why didn’t you stay where you belong?”
I feel the icy stare that says,
“Keep your distance, you foreigner,
with your different-colored skin
and your strange-sounding speech,
with your culture, food, religion, and clothing
that are inferior to my own.”
I’m an immigrant, a wetback, an alien,
an outsider operating a sweatshop sewing machine;
cheap labor, unwanted or dirty jobs
are mine for the taking;
I’m one of the countless invisible ones
who puts fresh vegetables on your plate
or stitches the fashion dresses and shirts
that you buy in your stylish stores.
As Moses of old once said,
“Remember, you were once aliens
in the land of Egypt,”
remember that your grandfathers and grandmothers
were immigrant unwanteds,
were exploited cheap labor,
second-class citizens,
uneducated and poor,
used and abused,
ignored or looked down upon
for their foreign religion, speech, and food.
The White House
first house of this great land,
says it well:
White is this land of promise;
no room for other colors or creeds.
Someday we’ll paint the first house
in rainbow colors—
someday, not long from now.
Dear God, help us to remember
that when we speak of immigrants and refugees,
we speak of Christ.
In the One who had no place to lay his head,
and in the least of his brothers and sisters,
you come to us again, a stranger seeking refuge.
We confess that we often turn away.

The prayer leader or another designate may wish to provide
a guided reflection or instruction on “An Alien’s Prayer” and the
chosen scriptural reading (help can be found in the enclosed
Suggestions for Homilists) or the leader may wish to engage the
participants in a guided group discussion on the prayer and reading.

The prayer leader may wish to incorporate intercessions from the
preceding section or to ask the participants to offer spontaneous prayers
for their intentions.

Our God, you have given us in your word
the stories of persons who needed to leave
their homelands—Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, Moses.
You have chosen that the life of Jesus be filled with
events of unplanned travel and flight from enemies.
You have shown us through the modeling of Jesus
how we are called to relate to persons from
different nations and cultures.
You have called us to be teachers of your word.
We ask you, our God, to open our minds and hearts
to the challenge and invitation to model
your perfect example of love. Amen.
“An Alien’s Prayer” by Edward Hays is reprinted with permission from
Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim, copyright © 1989, Forest of Peace Publishing,
251 Muncie Rd., Leavenworth, KS 66048.
JUSTICE FOR IMMIGRANTS a journey of hope