By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published January 22, 2021 | En Español
ATLANTA–A virtual conference on the human aspect of immigration in light of Catholic social teaching will be Thursday, Jan. 28 from 2-4 p.m. The guest speaker will be Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ, executive director for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, a charitable branch of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas.
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley collaborates with other organizations to provide assistance to those in need. This includes refugees and immigrants coming to the United States, as the organization is located near the border in south Texas.
Her work praised by Pope Francis, Sister Pimentel is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus religious order. She has worked with Catholic Charities since 2001 and has been executive director of the southern Texas location since 2004. She has won numerous awards for her ministry over the years, including Time Magazine listing her as one of their most influential people in 2020.
Working for Catholic Charities “has given me the privilege to be able to be present to the many families that are in distress,” said Sister Pimentel. “It has really offered me an opportunity to live out my faith and to help be an example model to others to do the same.”
While the coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted those in need, Sister Pimentel considers the lack of travel a silver lining, allowing her to be with the families the charity supports on a more regular basis. Her favorite aspect of ministry is being with the children.
“Children fill my heart, my life with joy,” she said. “I want to offer them a better tomorrow.”
The theme of the conference is, “The human aspect of immigration, key elements to go out to the Encounter.” The event will encourage Catholic leaders in north and central Georgia to pray and reach out to immigrants in our state, said William Cardona, assistant director of Hispanic Ministry for the Atlanta Archdiocese.
“It is important to do this so that people can make a difference as a community and as a church,” he said.
Sister Pimentel hopes the stories she shares during the virtual conference will open hearts to the brothers and sisters on the border through time and prayer. My hope is that people will join in this important mission that we have as people of good will and as Catholics, she said.
This Spanish-language event is hosted by the Office of Intercultural Ministries for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. To register for the virtual conference, visit http://bit.ly/35ICtNi. For more information, contact William Cardona at email@example.com.