A Litany of Lament and Repentance for Our Treatment of Immigrants and Refugees

The last weeks have seen a dramatic increase in tension even in what has already been an incredibly tense climate for immigrants in the United States. Threats of raids and deportation, rapidly changing and confusing immigration law making it harder to legally enter the country to request asylum, rumors of the ending of all refugee resettlement and the increase of negative rhetoric in the news media has terrorized the immigrant community including those within out Caminemos Juntos family. We are in many ways a persecuted people. And so as the Church, immigrant and non-immigrant, Latino, Black, Asian and White together we cry out to the Lord. We pray, we repent, and we hope knowing the Church has always flourished and multiplied in the midst of persecution.

The following litany has been prepared for use in the opening plenary session of the Caminemos Juntos North America conference, Thursday, August 1st, 2019 in Chicago, IL.



A Litany of Lament and Repentance for Our Treatment of Immigrants and Refugees

To be used in the opening plenary session of Caminemos Juntos North America, August 1st, 2019, Chicago, IL.  


O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,        

Have mercy upon us.                                           

Oh Dios el Hijo, Redentor del mundo, [God the Son, Redeemer of the world,]

Ten piedad de nosotros.                                      

O God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the faithful,         

Have mercy upon us.                                           

Oh santo, bendito, y gloriosa Trinidad, un Dios, [holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God,]

Ten piedad de nosotros. [Have mercy upon us.]


Officiant: “God created humankind in his own image,    

in the image of God he created them; male and female     

he created them.”[1] But we have, through our thoughts,   

words and deeds, denied the truth that each immigrant      

and refugee is made in your image                                


Pueblo: Lord, have mercy upon us.


Officiant: You said: “Don’t oppress an immigrant.

You know what it’s like to be an immigrant,

because you were immigrants in Egypt”[3]

But we have forgotten the hardships faced

by our ancestors who came to this country

from other lands and we have forgotten that as

a church we are an immigrant people.


Pueblo: Señor, ten piedad de nosotros.


Officiant: You said “When a stranger sojourns

with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.        

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you         

as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself.”[4]                                                                                                                                      


But we done wrong to the sojourners to this land:           

separating children from parents and husbands               

from wives, limiting opportunities for work                   

and education opportunities and not loving these              

new neighbors as ourselves.                                          


Pueblo: Lord, have mercy upon us.

You said “Go therefore and make disciples of

all nations, baptizing them in the name of the

Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

teaching them to observe all that I have

commanded you.”[5] 


But rather than recognizing your sovereign

disciple-making purposes in the dispersion of

peoples across borders, we have seen

immigrants as a threat. We have failed to

practice Godly hospitality and instead embraced

protectionist nationalism, not submit our ways of

thinking to the authority of your word.

Pueblo: Señor, ten piedad de nosotros.


Officiant: You said that before you will be a great multitude, from every nation, tribe, people               

and language.[6] But we have failed to prepare for  this multicultural and multilingual future.  We have          

not embraced the diversity of gifts and vitality immigrants bring to the Church. We have opposed         

change resisting any giving up of our ways of worship and life.                                                          

Lord, have mercy upon us.                                            

Christ, have mercy upon us.                                   

Lord, have mercy upon us.                                            


Let us pray. Oremos.

A Collect for Refugees and Immigrants          

Heavenly Father,  from whom every family on earth derives its name, have mercy on all those who sojourn in this world. As you sheltered your Son Jesus who fled from the tyranny of Herod, so now provide new homes for all those who flee the violence of this age that they may know the peace of Christ. Grace your people with hearts of welcome and lives of courage through Jesus Christ who lives and   reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.[7]                   


This litany was modified with permission from and based in part on an article by Matthew Soerens. Contributors include Rev. Jonathan Kindberg, Mimi Guiracocha Bloomer, Rev. Heather Ghormley and Bishop Eric Menees.  

Further Anglican Resources for Praying with and Partnering with Immigrants:

·      Archbishop Emeritus Bob Duncan’s 2015 statement on the establishment of the Anglican Immigrant Initiative: “Immigrants are bringing unprecedented life and growth to the Church.”


·      A Call to Prayer for Immigrants, Refugees, and Government Leaders by Archbishop Foley Beach “I encourage you to …  make a special effort to reach out to refugees and immigrants in your local community.  In these divisive times, we have the opportunity to demonstrate a compassion that builds bridges, and overcomes fear.”


·      Anglican Immigrant Initiative: www.anglicanimmigrantinitiative.com

·      “Why You (and Your Church) Should Read Christians at the Border” AMEN blog by Rev. Heather Ghormley



[1] Genesis 1:27

[2] Exodus 23:9

[3] Exodus 23:9

[4] Leviticus 19:33-34

[5] Matthew 28:19-20

[6] Revelation 7:9

[7] From “A Call to Prayer for Immigrants, Refugees, and Government Leader by Archbishop Foley Beach