Ordained but undocumented: a personal testimony – The new immigration laws being written in this country are causing a lot of fear and uncertainty to many who are undocumented. We have a number of them in my diocese and also in my own parish. In fact I am one of them.
For the last 10 years that I have been living in this country, I have only lived as an immigrant with no proper documents. As a result, I have never been back home, which I miss so much.
When I came to this place, invited by the bishop the diocese to come and study to become a priest here, I had proper documents. But the seminary where I went to study messed up my documents.
With the help of lawyers, my bishop has tried to correct my status but, for almost ten years now, they have not succeeded. The final result is that I should leave the country on my own accord. Or else, the authority will come for me as they are now doing, or they will find me when I am driving on the road. It is not a meaningful way to live life.
Now I know what immigrants go through since it is the life I live everyday. When I leave the rectory going to visit patients in the hospital or visit the sick in homes or attend any meetings, I am always aware that I may not come back home. I live one day at a time.
If I find my way back to my country, I may love to work with immigrants since I know what they have gone through. I think I can identify with their sufferings and understand their language of fear, uncertainty and hope for the best.
To work with immigrants is a God-sent gift for people like us. Keep doing this good work of hope. Your friend and brother priest, Fr. XYZ