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Oct 18, 2011 | Luke Blount

Bishop Doyle Joins Prayer Service for Immigration Reform

Andy Interfaith 1

Bishop Doyle reads a statement along with
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie and Imam Mustafa Yitif
U.S. Rep. 
Sheila Jackson Lee takes notes behind them. 

Andy Interfaith 2
Bishop Doyle, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, Cardinal Daniel
DiNardo and Bishop Michael Rinehart 
Bishop Doyle sings "We Shall Overcome" with crowd
Click here to see more photos

Tuesday evening the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, Bishop of Texas, gathered with religious leaders from several different faiths for the Interfaith Prayer Service and Call to Action for Immigration Reform hosted by the Institute of Interfaith Dialog.


The Houston interfaith statement on humane immigration reform states, “As people of God, we join in faith, prayer and action calling our national leaders to adopt humane and ethical comprehensive immigration reform laws consistent with the moral beliefs and democratic traditions of our immigrant nation." Religious leaders took turns offering a full statement asking to uphold family unity, create a documentation system, protect workers, facilitate integration, restore due process and align immigration laws with humanitarian values. The group also condemned legislation like the recent immigration laws enacted in Alabama.


At a press conference prior to the prayer service, the religious leaders answered questions in regards to the event. Reporters were curious why leaders from so many different faiths felt it was necessary to approach this political topic.


“All of us have come to understand that we believe in a country that was founded on the principles of freedom and hope,” Bishop Doyle said. “People have come to us, legally and illegally, because of these very principles. They are here seeking living wages. They are here seeking life and abundance. And with that, we should make this nation worthy of their search. It is our responsibility to speak morally and seek cooperation with politicians to find a solution.”


The event was attended by U.S. Congressional Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas’ 18th Congressional District and Al Green of Texas’ 9th Congressional District.


Also at the event, Bishop Doyle was joined by: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Catholic Archbishop of Galveston-Houston; Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church; Bishop Michael Rinehart of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; Imam Mustafa Yigit of the Houston Blue Mosque; Bishop Rufus Kyles, Jr., of the Church of God in Christ; the Rev. Tim Marques of the United Church of Christ; Dr. John Ogletree, pastor of the First Metropolitan Baptist Church; the Rev. John Bowie, pastor of the True Light Missionary Baptist Church and TMO leader; and Rabbi David Lyon of Congregation Beth Israel.


Can Dogan of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog opened the prayer service with a call for everyone to “pray together to honor of human dignity.”


Imam Yigit followed with a short sermon. “God almighty asks us not to just fulfill our own responsibility, but to put forth the extra effort to bridge the gap…to help take care of one another,” he said.


Then each religious leader followed with a short prayer.


“For our leaders, that they may soon create policies that allow for safe migration, just migrant working conditions and an end to the detention of asylum seekers, while protecting our national safety, we pray to the Lord," prayed Bishop Doyle.


Following the prayers, Rabbi Lyon offered a benediction, in which he compared America to the Promised Land.


“For many of us, our parents and our grandparents, our children and our grandchildren, this is the Promised Land. This is the land of milk and honey,” he said. “As I look around this room, the fault that we all share is that we have all come from someplace else, looking for something that would be truly better for us.”


Pastor Bowie then directed the crowd to link arms as he led the group in a moving rendition of the Gospel hymnal “We Shall Overcome”.  


Following the Prayer Service, three workshops were held focusing on human trafficking, the dignity of work and wages, and immigration legislation, which was moderated by the Rev. Uriel Osnaya of Santa Maria Virgen Episcopal in Houston.