On Thursday, April 27, President Donald Taylor and Provost Jeffrey Gingerich welcomed approximately 150 guests to the Cabrini University Mansion to celebrate the creation of the Center on Immigration. Inspired by the legacy of Mother Cabrini, the Patroness of Immigrants, and led by Abel Rodríguez, Center Director and Assistant Professor of Religion, Law and Social Justice, the Center will be a global leader promoting immigrant rights through advocacy, scholarship, and advancement of cultural expression.
The celebration opened with an invocation to Mother Cabrini given by Sister Christine Marie Baltas, MSC, and a reflection by Fabrine De Oliveira, a Cabrini student and a native of Brazil who shared her own immigrant experience.
Luz Colón, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, presented a proclamation in which PA Governor Tom Wlf acknowledged the Center’s planned contributions to the immigrant community.
A panel discussion took place featuring Sr. Yolanda Flores, MSC, Family Program Coordinator at Cabrini Immigrant Services – NYC; Hernán Guaracao, Publisher & CEO of AL DÍA News Media and Cabrini University Trustee; Erika Almirón, Executive Director of Juntos; John Grogan, Esq., Founding Partner at Langer, Grogan and Diver PC; and Steven Larín, Esq. Senior Director of Legal Services & Immigration policy at Nationalities Service Center.
Mr. Rodríguez shared his vision for the Center, and the panel members addressed the needs and concerns of immigrants and their families and critiqued current immigration policies, which have expanded the detention and deportation of immigrants and created extensive fear and distress in immigrant communities.
Mark Kiselica, Ph.D. Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, paid tribute to the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the employees and volunteers of Cabrini Immigrant Services for their heroic work on behalf of immigrants and their families.
The celebration concluded with a special presentation by Sr. Christine Marie Baltas, who gave Mr. Rodríguez a framed Seal of the Institute of the MSCs on behalf of Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, Provincial, and all MSCs as an expression of the Sisters’ support for the future work of the Center.