Bishop: Welcoming the stranger essential to faith

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Diocese of Providence was built upon and prospered because of the faith, sacrifices and contributions of many ethnic communities, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin explained during a recent symposium on "Immigrants and Immigration in the 21st Century" at Brown University.

"Throughout its history in our nation and in this community, the church has welcomed and ministered to the historic immigration of these cultures," the bishop said.

"Despite the various languages, cultures and traditions of these very diverse immigrant groups, they were united by a common Christian faith and the desire to improve their lives and contribute to the well-being of their new home in the United States and the state of Rhode Island," he said in the symposium's keynote speech.

He emphasized that the Catholic Church has been concerned with the immigration question and responding to the needs of the immigrant community for a long time and added that the church has continued to be blessed and enriched by the immigrant community.