Campus Ministry Answers Call to Service at the Border
This summer, Campus Minister Max Linnville and five students journeyed to Laredo, TX, ground zero in the immigration crisis, to serve refugees alongside Catholic Charities. They arrived right as new initiatives were being implemented to limit the amount of people coming through. But their experience was not focused on the politics of the situation, they were focused on seeing the dignity in the people whom they served.
“Service, mission and meeting others where they are is a passion of mine,” Linnville said. “So we got five students to commit to the trip and took a busload of supplies with us.”
While there, they worked with Catholic Charities to serve those who, after being picked up and processed by the border patrol, have been granted an opportunity to seek asylum in the United States. They aided with intake—welcoming families, providing them with new clothes and offering them an opportunity to shower. They also helped locate and contact family members with whom they could stay as they navigate the asylum process.
“What Catholic Charities is doing is incredible work, but they are receiving fewer people than before,” Linnville said. “Before the new initiatives they would receive up to 500 people per day, but they only saw about 70 people a day while we were there.”
A Voice for the Voiceless
Linnville recalls welcoming 30 people to the Catholic Charities center one day and noticing the shoelaces of one of the children travelling with them—shiny and tinfoil, a piece of the hypothermia blanket they received. As he knelt down to help the young boy swap out those for actual shoelaces Linnville reflected on Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and Pope Francis washing the feet of inmates.
“That was the first moment where I thought I had a purpose in this situation,” Linnville said. “I need to be a voice for the people who do not have a voice. It put it all in perspective for me.”
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