Welcoming the Stranger
December 16 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
$10 donation suggested
Online (Zoom) event
Presented in English with instantaneous Spanish translation available
We read in the Gospel of Matthew how Joseph, his wife Mary and the infant Jesus fled Bethlehem because of a proclamation of King Herod and immigrated to Egypt until the time it was safe to return to their homeland. (cf. Mt.2:13-23) Their journey becomes an icon for our reflection on today’s situation of those migrating, the impact of current US law, and how this intersects with the Catholic faith.
Migration, considered globally, is a structural phenomenon, and not a passing emergency. The presence of so many people of different cultures here in the United States challenges us to a profound conversion. Migrants remind us of a basic aspect of our faith, that we are all ‘strangers and exiles on the earth.’ (Heb 11:13) (Christus Vivit, 91)
Veronica Beltran is an attorney at the Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center. She began immigrant advocacy work at a young age in Holland, MI, where she attended St Francis de Sales Parish. Veronica received her BA from Grand Valley State University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Angelica Garcia is a leader of a Strangers No Longer Immigrant Women’s Circle of Support. She also serves as a Health Promoter, outreaching to Spanish-speaking and migrant farmworker populations with information about COVID-19 and other health concerns, through Strangers No Longer’s Somos Salud project. Originally from Mexico, Ms. Garcia now resides in Northern Michigan.
Amy Ketner is staff to Strangers No Longer where supports advocacy for laws and policies that uphold the dignity of immigrants. Amy studied sociology at the University of Michigan. Through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, she lived two years in Santiago, Chile, accompanying youth and young adults.
Rebecca Lair-Ybanez is the Director of the Immigration Legal Services ministry of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. She attended Kalamazoo College where she majored in Spanish and Religion, and during which time she spent 9 months studying abroad in Caceres, Spain. Her love affair with immigration law began at Catholic Human Development Outreach in Grand Rapids in 2000 where she spent 3 1/2 years working in the Immigration Advocacy and Assistance Program. In 2003, she went to law school with the goal of returning to non-profit work in immigration law. After law school she took a brief detour into the world of individual international taxation for a Chicago accounting firm before returning to Michigan to practice immigration law at St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing in 2011. In 2013 she returned to her hometown of Grand Rapids when she accepted her current position.