Parish policies prevent migrants from receiving sacraments: priest
March 24, 2011
Numerous migrant workers and their children have been prevented from receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, First Confession, and First Holy Communion because of parish regulations, says Father Mike McAndrew of the Diocese of Fresno.
Father McAndrew recounts:
After saying Mass in a migrant camp I asked workers, “If I return next year, what could I do for you?” One woman stated clearly, “Father, we do not need you to be our social worker. We need you to be our priest. Many of our children have not received their First Communion. Could you prepare our children for the sacraments? We follow the work in the fields. Much of the year our work prevents us from establishing regular contact with a Catholic parish. When we ask that our child receive the sacraments we are told, ‘Classes begin in September and end in May.’ Some parish programs are for two years. As migrant workers such a program does not work.”
“Rules about registering children for the sacraments, requirements of documents, and rigid rules on attendance at classes place significant hardships on the poor,” the priest adds as he discusses a two-week program of intense sacramental preparation that he has instituted in migrant camps.