8:33 am | Saturday, November 9th, 2013
NEW YORK—Inspired by the Franciscan tradition of offering sanctuary to people who are alienated, displaced and persecuted, the Migrant Center at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi began operations to welcome immigrants and provide a place of refuge.
The Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name Province were in full attendance and support at San Damiano Hall on November 2 when a proclamation was signed by 24 religious and non-profit organizations.
Fr. Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor and guardian of the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi NYC welcomed over 100 guests, followed by a sharing of real-life stories of immigrants who were abused and persecuted due to their lack of legal status.
A panel of immigration attorneys consisting of Eve Guillergan, Cristina Godinez and Tom Shea spoke on the state of immigration reforms and entertained questions from the community.
The old Immigration Center had not been operational, until the recent assignment of Fr. Julian Jagudilla OFM, to continue the ministry of the Church.
The new Migrant Center seeks to provide legal and social welfare assistance to immigrants and encourage solidarity and advocacy for the protection of their rights, while engaging in faith-based activities.
Intake services are offered twice a week, with trained volunteers assisting in the process of filing immigration applications. Counseling for social services is also underway.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Consulate General of New York, through its Legal Attache Felipe Carino III, offered to partner with the Migrant Center by hosting public forums.
The Filipino-American Legal Defense & Education Fund also offered assistance to hold free legal clinic. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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