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Catholics: bold and determined on pushing for immigration reform

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez celebrates the midday Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Starting Sunday, the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. is launching a crusade to persuade parishioners in taking a bold and more active role in pushing lawmakers for an immigration overhaul.

The message will be sent from the pulpit during mass, and also at multiple events organized through Catholic dioceses across the country, as part of the campaign intended to spread awareness over the need to legalize about 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said this will be a larger and more aggressive national effort than in past years as church leaders will be urging Catholics to call, write and e-mail their congressional representatives.

According to Kevin Appleby, director of immigration policy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, polls show that there is broad support among Catholics for immigration reform.

Summer break is over, Congress returns to work on Monday and is expected that the immigration bill passed in the Senate last June, will face tough opposition in the House.

“We’ve urged the bishops to focus on this time frame,” Appleby told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a critical time. We need to get the Senate bill through to the House. It needs a push.”

Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is urging all priests in his diocese to address immigration reform in Sunday’s Mass, based on the biblical teaching about caring for the unfortunate and the oppressed.

Despite that military action in Syria and the budget battle will most likely take priority over the immigration debate in Congress, other church leaders continue with their plans to meet with lawmakers in Washington, to push for the legalization of the undocumented in the U.S.