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National Migration Week

September 19 – 25, 2022

For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, which is an opportunity for the Church to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking.

National Migration Week ends on September 25th with the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR). The theme for this year, chosen by Pope Francis, is “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.” Pope Francis highlights the commitment that we are all called to share in building a future that embraces God’s plan, leaving no one behind.

To celebrate National Migration Week last year, Catholic Charities of Fairfield County asked our community to share their reasons for celebrating immigrants. We invite you to read those responses and watch the following video of Executive Director, Mike Donoghue, sharing why he celebrates immigrants.

I’d like to celebrate immigrants this week (and every week!) because I’m inspired by their stories. Immigrants travel to this country with high hopes. They want better lives for themselves and their families. They work hard and we should celebrate their effort, determination, and spirit. Their stories are the American Dream.
Diane Barston

Family Loan Program, Norwalk

My mom, Adele Immerso (Natale) was born on March 11, 1922, in Popoli, Italy, to Domenica and Thomas Natale.

Adele immigrated to America in 1929 and settled in the Bronx. She is a graduate of Hunter College; earning first a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and then continuing on to an M.A. She worked as both a teacher and then as an interpreter in the Office of Censorship where she met her future husband, Joseph Stephen Immerso. They were married on June 22, 1946 and moved to Queens, New York. They had three children and were married for 52 years until Joseph’s death in 1998.

Adele was a skilled cook, a talented embroiderer, an avid follower of politics and a devout Catholic. She was a very devoted Wife, Mother and Nana who gave generously of her time to others. In her later years, as a spry resident in an assisted living dwelling, she helped to brighten the lives of those around her by conducting cooking classes and teaching Italian to other residents.

She accomplished so much, and I was blessed to have had her as my teacher and my Mom.

I am very proud to be the daughter of an immigrant.

Mary-Beth Immerso Petersen

Vice President, Human Resources

I #CelebrateImmigrants because I am proud of my husband’s immigrant grandmother.

I will always be grateful to Baba who allowed me to live with her during my two years of college at Sacred Heart University. She was the best roommate I ever had! She would tell you I saved her life twice, but she welcomed me into her home when I was virtually a stranger and allowed me to finished my education so I could stay close to my husband and helped take care of my young children. She truly was an amazing woman.

Amy Zajac

Senior Director, Marketing and Events

Of all the wonderful memories and frequent thanks I give to my father for hitchhiking across Europe to Calais, France and then crossing the English Channel to get to his ship…during this most difficult time in Europe and all by himself…he was incredibly proud to be an American and flew the flag outside his front door until he passed. On the 10th anniversary of being a US citizen, and every 10 years thereafter, he threw a party for himself, family, and fellow immigrant friends. His speeches were always deeply heartfelt, filled with tears, and thankful to all that allowed him the freedom to live, and to live a full life.
John Gutman

Director, New Covenant Center

The courage and fortitude displayed by our immigration population is nothing short of inspirational. Uprooting themselves due to poverty, violence, etc., to emigrate to somewhere that presents all new challenges and a large measure of uncertainty, is undoubtedly a daunting task. But in order to effect positive change in their lives, their family’s lives, they take that necessary risk. It is an incredible undertaking, and they should be celebrated for persevering through all of these struggles.
Jeffrey Umansky

Program Director, New Heights

My great-grandmother, Margaret Phillips, was born in Ireland 1866 on St. Patrick’s Day. She came alone to America when she was 16; sponsored by a NYC doctor.

She moved to New Milford after marriage and raised 4 children. Margaret always fed the homeless and people in need.

She used to buy ice at what is now the COOKHOUSE- a favorite BBQ restaurant in New Milford.

Ms. Keven Nelson

New Heights

I am the proud son of immigrants and would not change this fact for anything in its place.

Why should we celebrate immigrants?
The answer is easy: because that is who we are as a country- a diverse people of many cultures and races who together form this great social experiment that strives to realize liberty, justice and equality for all. We have always welcomed immigrants as the life blood for our country’s social and economic life.

To put it simply: our diversity is our greatest strength as Americans.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano

Diocese of Bridgeport

Executive Director of Catholic Charities, Mike Donoghue, Celebrates Immigrants for National Migration Week