On Monday, St. Charles Borromeo Church on Sidney Place welcomed 200 migrants sent by bus from Texas to the doorsteps of the Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. According to The Tablet, Msgr. Alfred LoPinto of CCBQ said hundreds of migrants were found camping out in front of 191 Joralemon St. with letters in their hands that said the office building was their new home. The Msgr. said they were “blindsided by the whole thing,” but CCBQ quickly organized to rally around the migrants and provide them with necessities and just plain humane treatment.
As widely reported, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent an estimated 9,000 migrants by bus to Washington D.C. and New York City, so-called “sanctuary cities,” because his state ran out of room or something like that. “Everything’s bigger in Texas” so they say, but not the heart, apparently.
Msgr. LoPinto said that the migrants were told to find catholic charities in New York City, but that the charities were given no heads up. “The sad part of it is, had they given notice ahead of time, we could have been more organized and had a much better opportunity to help. But now you just kind of roll with the punches,” he said. The Msgr. added that it would have been impossible to help the migrants without volunteers, St. Charles’ pastor Father Bill Smith, and St. Vincent de Paul Society which helped with emergency funds.
At the orientation at St. Charles, Alvanys Rondon said she and her 10-year-old daughter trekked from Venezuela through the Panama jungles and “had to wade through foliage that tangled their legs and a near-constant quagmire of mud.” When they finally made it to the border in Texas, they found that their journey was far from over. “It has been a 30-plus hour bus ride up from Texas. They’re hungry. They’re confused, disoriented. It’s all terrible,” said CCBQ’s vice president Richard Slizeski.
At St. Charles, the migrants received a warm welcome to our country, legal information on seeking asylum, boxes of necessities and food, and a hot meal of chicken and rice and beans.
Yesterday, #CCBQ, @CMSBQ, and the St. Charles Borromeo Parishioner volunteers welcomed over 140 #migrants and #asylumseekers at an information session and lunch at St. Charles Borromeo Church in #DowntownBrooklyn. Read more: https://t.co/OxvAyIhsa7 @CMSBQ #Bethesolution pic.twitter.com/mZAUjB3M7s
— Catholic Charities (@CathCharitiesBQ) August 30, 2022
Photo courtesy Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.