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Long Island Bishop Visits Children Held At Border Facilities

Courtesy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre

A Catholic bishop from Long Island passed out bibles and rosaries to children at immigration detention centers in Brownsville, Texas, on the U.S-Mexico border last week.

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Rockville Centre joined five members of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops delegation to hold mass for teenage boys. Brennan says it gave the children a connection to home in Central America, a largely Catholic region.

“It was something very familiar and part of their prayer life and hopefully that was a shot of strength and a moment of encouragement and hope.”

Brennan said it also gave the children a time for reflection.

“I think they still bear the burdens of the journeys that they had trodden already. That was incredibly clear.”

They held mass at a Walmart that had been converted into an immigration facility.

Speaking at a press conference with the delegation, Brennan said, “The agents, the border agents themselves, are parents. They spoke from the heart. And I think they saw themselves there just trying to serve and care for these young children.”

Brennan was invited because a Catholic foster care center on Long Island is housing 10 migrant children who were separated from their parents, and because Long Island has one of the nation’s largest Central American communities.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.