“They know that Pope Francis himself is the son of an immigrant. They know that he has the heart to understand what they are going through,” Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez says.
Immigrant children in California have written heartfelt letters to Pope Francis seeking his help and his prayers for their parents who have been deported or arrested.
“They know that Pope Francis himself is the son of an immigrant. They know that he has the heart to understand what they are going through,” Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez said Jan. 14.
The archbishop said that reading the letters “makes my heart ache.”
“They are so beautiful and so sad,” he told the civic group Town Hall Los Angeles. “My friends, this is what immigration is doing to the soul of our country. How we respond to these children is a challenge to our conscience – and it will be a measure of our humanity.”
A letter from Karla, a 15-year-old girl born in Los Angeles, told Pope Francis she has a “very religious” family. Both her parents and her two older siblings are immigrants from Mexico.
“My mom is slowly going blind and my dad has a heart problem. My sister is in a wheelchair and she needs medical help, but they can't get the medical help they need because they don’t have their legal documents,” she said.
“I know there are more people with the same or even worse situation. Some kids even younger than me have been separated from their parents and family,” Karla added. “I ask you to keep me and my family in your prayers.”
She also asked the Pope to pray for President Obama “so he can stop all deportation.”
The children's letters were collected through a coalition seeking full rights for immigrants. The children brought the letters to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Archbishop Gomez said he was forwarding the letters to the Pope. According to the archbishop, the U.S. government has deported nearly two million immigrants in the last four years.
Another young girl, Guadalupe, asked for the Pope's help “to stop deporting families and separating families because its sad to see kids be separated from their parents and the kids ending up as orphans.”