California, Mexican border bishops meet in Tijuana

Bishops from California were San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto, Fresno Bishop Armando Ochoa and San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone speaks with a migrant at a repatriation center in Tijuana during trip to meet with Mexican border bishops. (Photo by Martin Ford/Office of Human Life & Dignity, Archdiocese of San Francisco)

As caravans of Honduran and Guatemalan immigrants traveled through Mexico toward the U.S. in a cacophony of media reporting and political rhetoric, a group of California and Mexican bishops met quietly in Tijuana in their annual meeting of prayer and friendship Oct. 22-23.

“We made much progress in building up bonds of communion between our communities with much friendship and fraternity,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said, speaking on the last day of the two-day meeting.

“Today our church, our Catholic Church has a great opportunity to evangelize our communities that are not just here or there but communities who don’t have bread for their children,” said Mexicali Bishop José Isidro Guerrero Macías, speaking of the Catholic Church’s mission to the poor and disenfranchised, and the bishops’ opportunities to work together despite the border.

A powerful moment took place when the bishops were shown an ordinary-looking door on the border that separates the U.S.-Mexico border through which migrants walk to return to Mexico. The bishops witnessed a short line of Mexican people, mostly teenagers, returning to Mexico through this door to meet Mexico’s border patrol. They would then be allowed to walk through another corridor which led to the repatriation center.

The Mexican bishops were Tijuana Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barrón, Ensenada Bishop Rafael Valdez Torres, Mexicali Bishop Macías and Hermosillio Archbishop Ruy Rendón Leal. In addition to Archbishop Cordileone and Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto, Fresno Bishop Armando Ochoa and San Diego Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan were from California.

The bishops came together to discuss migration, care for the environment and life and family and to find other areas of common ground, said Bishop Soto, president of the California Catholic Conference. “How do we care for children and their mothers … mothers oftentimes in desperate circumstances looking toward abortion,” Bishop Soto said. “It is encouraging for us to share ideas, to see the different ways that we try to reach out to those in need. How do we together proclaim the Gospel?”

The U.S. bishops were warmly met by the Mexican bishops and representatives of the National Institute of Migration at the border in Tijuana. NIM is a unit of the government of Mexico that controls and supervises migration into Mexico. The bishops were then driven along the border wall to the end where it meets the Pacific Ocean.

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.

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