Glenmary president makes statement on ICE raid in Grainger Co.

Glenmary News

Glenmary president makes statement on ICE raid in Grainger Co.

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: John Stegeman,
Manager of Communications
Phone: 513-881-7442


Immigration enforcement activity in the Bean Station, Tenn. area April 5 has led to an uncertain number of persons being detained, affecting the lives of many in the surrounding communities, including parishioners of Glenmary Home Missioners’ St. John Paul II mission in nearby Rutledge, Tenn.

In response, Glenmary Home Missioners president Father Chet Artysiewicz issued the following statement:

“This incident points out once again the urgent need for immigration reform—a need that has existed for decades and through the administrations of both political parties. There is an adage which states, ‘The cure is worse than the disease.’ That could well apply to enforcement activities that separate families. We are a nation of laws and affirm that reality, but the application of laws must be done in a way that improves a situation, rather than exacerbates it.

“We express our prayers and solidarity with those affected and support the efforts of local churches, including our own St. John Paul II mission, in providing pastoral care to the families involved.

“When pressed by the Pharisees about which commandment of the law was the greatest, Jesus did not launch into a complex analysis of Jewish jurisprudence. Rather he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.’

“The families affected by ICE detainment and deportation are our neighbors. Our country must find a better and more moral way of dealing with these issues.”

Glenmary Father Steve Pawelk, the pastor of St. John Paul II, echoed Father Artysiewicz’s statement.

“These are our families members,” he said. “They’re our brothers and sisters in faith. They deserve our protections.”

Glenmary Home Missioners supports the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops call for comprehensive immigration reform that, while accepting the legitimate role of the government to protect its borders, keeps families from being torn apart, offers a path to legal status, grants immigrants due process rights and addresses the root causes of migration.

Glenmary Home Missioners is a Catholic society of priests, brothers and lay coworkers dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of people living in mission counties throughout Appalachia and the South.