Around 50 churchgoers from various denominations held a Sunrise Prayer Service alongside a section of the border wall in Hidalgo on Saturday.
They prayed and sang hymns for nations, national leaders, including President Trump, law enforcement and peace officers and for the humanitarian treatment of immigrants.
“There is so much unease and unrest in our community. We hear it in our churches, through our pastors, and from our neighbors. Sometimes we feel helpless. But, we shouldn’t. There are things that we can do. The one thing we can do is pray,” said San Juanita Sanchez, one of the organizers of the prayer service.
Sanchez is mayor of San Juan. However, for this event she spoke as a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in San Juan and as a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Sanchez said the prayer service had the blessing of Bishop Daniel Flores.
“What we can do is gather in solidarity, as a community of members from various churches and pray for our nation, pray for our president, for our law enforcement, and of course, for a humanitarian resolution to this immigration issue,” Sanchez said.
“We offer these prayers in the hope that the folks in Washington can understand that when it comes to immigration. we see the faces, we know the families, we know their names. We want Washington to know that when they pass a law, it affects families, it affects human beings, people who are part of our community.”
Asked why the parishioners chose to pray alongside the border wall, Sanchez said: “This is where the immigrants that decide to come to the United States, make their transitions. This is where our government wants to put their personnel. This is where the wall we keep hearing about is going to be built. We come to areas where we see division, by means of a wall. But we also come to see that there are no walls when it comes to unity and prayer.”
Four petitions were offered. The song accompanying the prayers for the nation’s leaders was Sumerjeme. The song accompanying the prayers for all nations was Porque Tengo Miedo. The song accompanying the prayers for law enforcement and peace officers was Un Dia a La Vez. The song accompanying the prayers for the humanitarian treatment of all immigrants was Alaba a Dios.
At the end of the service, Martha Sanchez, a community organizer with La Unión del Pueblo Entero, announced that her group, in association with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, would be holding three workshops next week to educate undocumented immigrants on what to do if they are aprehended by Border Patrol or ICE.
The workshops are being held in Alamo, Weslaco and Edinburg.
“These workshops are very important,” said San Juanita Sanchez. “A lot of times when there is fear, it is because of the unknown. It is because of a lack of knowledge. We are very grateful to organizations like LUPE that are trying to empower the immigrant, to help them understand what rights they have, so they know what to do if they are challenged. It is very important.”
Editor’s Note: Like La Unión del Pueblo Entero, Valley Interfaith has been holding workshops to help educate immigrant families on what to do if they are picked by Border Patrol or ICE. Valley Interfaith asked that the dates and times of these workshops, and churches that are hosting them, not be published for fear that ICE may show up. The Rio Grande Guardian respected that wish and for this reason is not publishing the venues for the LUPE workshops.