See UD's plans to return to teaching, learning and research on campus this fall with measures in place to promote safety and lessen the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Skip to main content

Campus Ministry


Immigration Guided Reflection 2

By Meaghan Crowley

Welcome to the second Immigration Reflection Guide.  Lately there has been a lot of discussion around Immigration.  Campus Ministry’s Center for Social Concern thought it might be helpful to reflect on what US Catholic Bishops have to say!  So, we put together a reflection guide, for you to use in your own time, to prayerfully read and contemplate where the Catholic Church stands on issues surrounding Migration.  

Below is a guided reflection from one section of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Document, “Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration and the Movements of Peoples.”  Last week we focused on the first principle of this US Bishops Document, “People have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families.” This week we are going to be focusing on the second principle.  Take some time, read the reflection over, and follow the prompts as you’re ready.  But first, let’s pray:

Dear Lord,

Creator of all things,

true source of light and wisdom,

origin of all being,

graciously let a ray of your light penetrate

the darkness of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness

in which I have been born,

an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me a keen understanding,

a retentive memory, and

the ability to grasp things

correctly and fundamentally.

Grant me the talent

of being exact in my explanations

and the ability to express myself

with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning,

direct the progress,

and help in the completion.

I ask this through Christ our Lord.


To begin, here is the second principle from the Bishops document.  Prayerfully read it over, and take note of what stands out to you. Jot down some initial thoughts.  What jumps out at you?  How do you feel reading this?  What are some of the “take aways” you see?

Second Principle: A country has the right to regulate its borders and to control immigration.

The overriding principle of all Catholic Social Teaching is that individuals must make economic, political, and social decisions not out of shortsighted self-interest, but with regard for the common good. That means that a moral person cannot consider only what is good for his or her own self and family, but must act with the good of all people as his or her guiding principle.

While individuals have the right to move in search of a safe and humane life, no country is bound to accept all those who wish to resettle there. By this principle the Church recognizes that most immigration is ultimately not something to celebrate. Ordinarily, people do not leave the security of their own land and culture just to seek adventure in a new place or merely to enhance their standard of living. Instead, they migrate because they are desperate and the opportunity for a safe and secure life does not exist in their own land. Immigrants and refugees endure many hardships and often long for the homes they left behind. As Americans we should cherish and celebrate the contributions of immigrants and their cultures; however, we should work to make it unnecessary for people to leave their own land.

Because there seems to be no end to poverty, war, and misery in the world, developed nations will continue to experience pressure from many peoples who desire to resettle in their lands. Catholic social teaching is realistic: While people have the right to move, no country has the duty to receive so many immigrants that its social and economic life are jeopardized.

For this reason, Catholics should not view the work of the federal government and its immigration control as negative or evil. Those who work to enforce our nation's immigration laws often do so out of a sense of loyalty to the common good and compassion for poor people seeking a better life. In an ideal world, there would be no need for immigration control. The Church recognizes that this ideal world has not yet been achieved.

Now, please take some time and prayerfully reflect on the following questions:

  • The USCCB document states, “As Americans we should cherish and celebrate the contributions of immigrants and their cultures; however, we should work to make it unnecessary for people to leave their own land.” The Bishops also recognizes that we do not currently live in a world      free of conflict, “this ideal world has not yet been achieved.”  
    • Reflect on America’s current role in global politics. How are we doing with this delicate balance of welcoming and regulating?  Are we working toward the “ideal world” where people  don’t have to leave their homes?

It’s also important to listen to the voices of people who have migrated.  Take a few minutes and listen to the stories of several people who have migrated for a multitude of different reasons:

  • The USCCB document talks about the root causes of migration as “ultimately not something to celebrate” as they often involve war, poverty, and persecution. The video takes a look at why different people migrate away from their homes of origin.       
    • Put yourself in a migrant’s shoes.  How would you feel leaving behind everything you know because of situations out of your control?  
    • Think about the questions at the end of the video, what would it take for you to leave your home for something unknown?

Closing Prayer

Good and gracious God,                       

We thank you for the gift of families.

We are grateful for all of the joy and love

that they bring into our lives,

and we ask that you provide

special protection for all families,

particularly those who face hardships

as they move in search of a better life.

Show mercy to those who travel in danger,

and lead them to a place of safety and peace. Comfort those who are alone and afraid because their families have been torn apart by violence.

and injustice.

As we reflect upon the difficult journey

that the Holy Family faced as refugees in Egypt,

help us to remember the suffering of all migrant families. Through the intercession of Mary our Mother,

and St. Joseph the Worker, her spouse,

we pray that all migrants may be reunited with their loved ones

and the meaningful work they seek.

Open our hearts so that we may provide hospitality for all who come in search of refuge.

Give us the courage to welcome every stranger

as Christ in our midst.                   

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness!  We have 1 more guided reflection coming your way, so check back soon for more!  Peace!

Previous Post

Graduation Pledge

What are we really doing here? Why does the University of Dayton exist? How are UD grads different from those who graduate from other colleges and universities?
Read More
Next Post

The Word is Alive Today

Seemingly out of the blue, my newfound friend turned to me and said, "Well, don't you see it? The Word is alive today."
Read More