By Fr. Antonio Ponce, OMI. JPIC office Originally Published on the Missionary Oblates JPIC Blogspot
Fr. Ponce is currently visiting and connecting with Oblate parishes in Laredo, Texas. In this blog, Fr. Ponce reflects about his week of activities in Laredo. “It has been a hot, but interesting week here in Laredo. I am staying at Our Lady of Guadalupe, where I am meeting with people from some of the groups and their leaders.”
Meeting with Greens of Guadalupe and Rio Grande International Study Center:
Last week I had the opportunity to meet Berta Torrez y Socorro Coronado, from “Greens of Guadalupe,” who, inspired by Fr. Darrell Rupiper, have been involved in environmental issues in the Laredo area. On June 27, I was invited by Berta y Socorro to participate in the annual meeting of the Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC), an organization whose mission is “To preserve and protect the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo, its watershed and environment…”.
Tricia Cortez, executive director of RGISC, made a presentation about the work done by the organization, the different groups that have joined their efforts to address environmental issues in the area, and the challenges they face. For more info about RGISC visit their website. http://rgisc.org/Index.html#
Meeting with people from The Laredo Humanitarian Relief Team
Also, last week, I visited one of the centers where volunteers are helping migrants, especially unaccompanied children, some as young as 6 months old. In recent days the number of woman and children has increased so dramatically that the federal government has called this a “humanitarian Crisis”.
The group is called, “The Laredo Humanitarian Relief Team”, formed by people from different local organizations including the Diocese of Laredo, the Rotary Club, and Catholic Social Services among others. They help migrants contact family members in the US, and provide temporary shelter where they can shower and rest. When the migrants are ready to leave Laredo, they receive a kit containing personal items such as water, toothpaste, soap, snacks, etc., all donated by local individuals. For more information: http://www.voanews.com/content/influx-of-undocumented-kids-overwhelms-us-border-patrol/1941764.html