The U.S. bishops' pastoral statement Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity is firmly grounded in the Church's social teaching. Understanding and appreciating Catholic social teaching helps us to put our faith into action. Is your parish community looking for opportunities to better understand and practice what our faith teaches? Using this resource as a study guide, discussion starter, and guide to action can provide such opportunities.
- Parish staff, particularly educators and catechists:
This resource will help to better educate them about Catholic social teaching as it pertains to the pastoral statement and will assist them in teaching others.
- RCIA groups, young adult groups, and small faith communities:
This resource can be copied and distributed to these groups for use as a study and discussion guide and as a guide to action.
Both the Old and New Testaments tell compelling stories of refugees forced to flee because of oppression. Exodus tells the story of the Chosen People, Israel, who were victims of bitter slavery in Egypt. They were utterly helpless by themselves, but with God's powerful intervention they were able to escape and take refuge in the desert. For forty years they lived as wanderers with no homeland of their own. Finally, God fulfilled his ancient promise and settled them on the land that they could finally call home.
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The Israelites' experience of living as homeless aliens was so painful and frightening that God ordered his people for all time to have special care for the alien: "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).