Early on the morning before Thanksgiving, Rev. Marvin Ajic joined immigration activists for a march in North Hollywood. By 11 o’clock he was saying mass to a church packed with Latino parishioners at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Sun Valley, where he’s the pastor.
“Let us offer our prayers for all of us, for all our families," he said, switching between English and Spanish. "Many of our families have been deported or separated, because of their status. So let us pray for all those that are not here with us today—probably in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala. This is one of the campaigns that we want to start, the Unity Family—La Unidad de la Familia—it’s very important.”
Many Roman Catholic clergy like Ajic are joining forces with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and with other advocacy organizations on this new campaign. In the year ahead they want the federal government to pass immigration reform, and to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records.
Los Angeles’ Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez has also joined religious leaders across the political spectrum who regard the reelection of President Obama as a new opportunity to enact comprehensive immigration reform.