In recent years, there has been a significant growth of interest in the Syrian Colony of the Lower West Side of Manhattan, frequently also called "Little Syria." This classic multiethnic neighborhood had a dominant Arabic-speaking influence from the 1880s to 1940s, and it served as the "Mother Colony" for the substantial Syrian and Lebanese immigration to the United States.
In summit discussions with President Xi Jinping of China, President Barack Obama might want to open new lines of communication over human rights by reflecting candidly on America's own failings, following a script something like this:
He told them! Any religious leader who is considering sainthood for the "Servant of God" Dorothy Day -- the crusading editor of the Catholic Worker and heroine of my garment-worker parents during the Great Depression -- gets my vote.
At the formal welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn at the White House, a very traditional template was transformed by the "Vicar of Christ," whose presence turned everyone's language to one reference after another to those Christ called "the least of these" in the 25th chapter of Matthew.
The Pope has said a great deal since he arrived in the U.S. Still, in this one, simple sentence before Congress, he brought together concepts of love, solidarity, right relationships, human dignity and even a "preferential option for the poor."
With migrants flooding Europe and the refugee crisis unfolding, we are worrying how they will cope. Is it feasible for any country to digest such a suddenly massive influx of so culturally different newcomers and sustain its own values?
Pope Francisco's visit to Washington, DC, felt like a gust of fresh air. And he left us a rosary of unforgettable sentences, including my favorite one: "I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of 'dreams'."
Even at an early age, I remember wishing I could have been born as something different because I disliked the association of "Mexican" with Home Depot. I also got tired of "mow my lawn." These were all jokes, but they spoke to a widely accepted reality: Mexicans are here to do the dirty jobs.
There's nothing partisan about Pope Francis's statements like these. Time and time again, he's simply noted that there are political solutions to moral problems -- and that failing to reach these solutions is a moral failure, not just a political one.
Pope Francis, a champion of the vulnerable and downtrodden, has an opportunity to make the moral case, on behalf of the many faith leaders and faith-based organizations supporting comprehensive immigration reform, to break the stalemate in Congress.
Pope Francis and Donald Trump are savvy politicians, whose contrasting styles of rhetoric and tone have made them two of the best showmen/salesmen of the 21st Century.
Democrats' poor effort to talk to Latinos, much like Fox News' control of who is taken seriously in the debates, can only be summed up in the following: we will choose your candidate for you.
The Pope's call for the wealthiest nations in the world to accept those fleeing poverty and violence directly contradicts the majority party's view, but gives spiritual power to the quest for immigration reform that lives up to our values.
Pope Francis is clearly a religious leader who sees the values in unity over conflict. We should welcome that as we welcome him to the United States.
The vitriol against immigrants and refugees should not shake a fundamental principle that everyone deserves to live in a safe place and have access to employment and educational opportunities.
Anti-Catholicism has deep roots in American history. But its hey day was the mid-nineteenth century. What sparked this surge in anti-Catholic hostility was the arrival of several million Catholic immigrants from Europe, primarily Ireland, Germany, and later Italy.