Cleveland (Agenzia Fides) - "The church is called to accompany migrants, but far beyond spiritual support", says Mgr. Nelson Jesus Perez, new bishop of the diocese of Cleveland, Ohio (USA).
Appointed only on July 11, the first Bishop at the head of a diocese in the state of Ohio, released a brief interview to a Spanish agency yesterday in which he recalls that the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the US has been proposing a migration reform for a long time because it is urgent and necessary.
"A part of our accompaniment regards legal support as well as the help of organizations such as the Catholic Charities Immigration Department, and counseling and social service", he said in the interview. "It is clear that a country has the right to defend its borders, but it must be done in order to respect the rights and dignity of the people", he added.
The diocese of Cleveland has a population of 2.7 million people, of whom 24% are Catholics. Mgr. Perez, 56, was born in Miami, where his Cuban parents emigrated in 1960, and grew up in West New York, New Jersey, and replaces Bishop Richard G. Lennon, who announced his retirement in December for health reasons. He worked for many years in New York (Long Island) where he led the Hispanic Catholics office of the archdiocese. In Long Island he worked with gangs and with the Hispanic community. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 15/07/2017)