Austin, TX - Friendraiser

St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church Family Center in Austin, Texas

Written by: Sister Marti McCarthy, SSS

June 8, 2013

About 200 people came to greet the Nuns on the Bus in Austin. Sister JT Dwyer, a Daughter of Charity, introduced the evening with a warm welcome from Holy Cross Fr. Bill Wack, the pastor. Sister Mary Lou Barba, Diocesan Director for Religious of Austin, read a letter of support and welcome letter from Bishop Joseph Vasquez.

Becky Moeller, President of Texas AFL-CIO, spoke passionately about the disruption to families, wrongs done to immigrant workers who must stay in the shadows, and the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

Simone engaged the audience with an overview of some of the reform issues and some of the ways in which immigrant workers are exploited. She introduced Sister Sharon Altendorf, PBVM, who described her early positive life experiences with immigrant groups and farmworkers who worked in her area. She described how the workers at the end of the season held a fiesta to which all were invited.

I spoke of the moral imperative for immigration reform as well as the economic benefit that 11 million new citizens and their families will bring to the national, state and local economies. She referred to the recent Wall Street Journal editorial that notes that these new citizens paying into Medicare and Social Security will rebuild the trust funds for these programs.

Sister Simone echoed and expanded on reform issues and impressed upon the group the importance of calls and visits this week as early votes on the Senate bill come to the floor. Questions and comments followed.