Immigration

POPE’S MESSAGE | At audience, pope leads prayers for migrants, trafficking victims

Pope Francis held a booklet with an image of Sudanese St. Josephine Bakhita Feb. 8 at his general audience in Paul VI hall. Marking the feast of St. Bakhita, a former slave, the pope urged Christians to help trafficking victims and migrants.

VATICAN CITY — Marking the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, a former slave, Pope Francis urged Christians to help victims of human trafficking and migrants, especially the Rohingya people being chased from Myanmar.

For the Catholic Church, St. Bakhita's feast day, Feb. 8, is a day of prayer for victims of trafficking.

Pope Francis asked government officials around the world to "decisively combat this plague" of human trafficking, paying particular attention to trafficking in children. "Every effort must be made to eradicate this shameful and intolerable crime."

Refugee fled Iraq in fear; now thriving in St. Louis

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Nadya Kanim was a child when her family was forced to leave Kuwait. Her father had worked in Kuwait for 30 years and returned to his native Iraq because of the political differences between the countries that erupted in the 1990-91 Gulf War.

They resettled in his homeland, and all was well.

Then, on a warm summer night in 1996, soldiers rushed into their home and took her father away.

"We were screaming, crying, pleading with them to leave our father and not to hurt him," said Kanim, who was 15 at the time.

Refugee fled Iraq in fear; now thriving in St. Louis

Image

Nadya Kanim was a child when her family was forced to leave Kuwait. Her father had worked in Kuwait for 30 years and returned to his native Iraq because of the political differences between the countries that erupted in the 1990-91 Gulf War.

They resettled in his homeland, and all was well.

Then, on a warm summer night in 1996, soldiers rushed into their home and took her father away.

"We were screaming, crying, pleading with them to leave our father and not to hurt him," said Kanim, who was 15 at the time.

Catholics oppose Trump actions on refugees, border wall, sanctuary communities

A woman held a sign during a protest against President Donald Trump's immigration policies during a demonstration near the White House in Washington Jan. 25.

WASHINGTON -- Catholic organizations expressed distress and unease with President Donald J. Trump's actions related to immigration while pledging to continue serving and supporting migrant people.

On a Journey of hope and faith

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When Marie Uwamahoro was 7, her family fled the civil war in the Central African Republic.

She loved her former home, but being so young, the adjustment to life in the United States was easier than it was for her parents. Now a sophomore at Notre Dame High School in Lemay, Marie likes the opportunities St. Louis offers and the diversity of the city. She's planning to attend college, perhaps becoming a nurse.

Catholic attorney protects rights of people of Islamic faith

Robert West, a graduate of St. Louis Priory School and St. Louis University, serves as staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and works on civil rights cases. He sees a lot of parallels with Muslims, especially recent immigrants, and Catholic immigrants centuries ago, and is inspired by Catholic social teaching. He is helping the Alnusour family who say they have been under threats from a neighbor in south St. Louis. West visited their home and spoke with Eyad and his wife, Laila.

The young family — dad, mom and three children — is happy with their two-story home in south St. Louis, in a normally quiet residential area.

But they fear they may have to move from their home of more than a year and a half after encountering what they see as a bullying neighbor motivated by his hatred of Muslims.

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