Sister Joni’s students send letters of support to Archbishop
Students in Sister Joni Luna’s St. Patrick School religion class recently sent letters of support to Archbishop of Indianapolis Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., in response to his stance on helping a Syrian refugee family resettle in Indiana.
“We were simply responding to an article in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star,” Sister Joni said. “The students wrote a letter to Archbishop Tobin in support of his courage. We also shared thoughts and feelings regarding the Archbishop receiving the refugees.”
Sister Joni said a total of 37 sixth-graders participated.
“We discussed how Archbishop Tobin was like Jesus,” Sister Joni said, “in how he went against (Governor Mike Pence) and some people – very popular people – in Indiana, to do what is right and just.”
As a result, Archbishop Tobin responded with a letter of his own, stating:
“Thank you for your letters of support for our decision to resettle a Syrian refugee family this past December. You will be happy to know that because of the support they receive from Catholic Charities they are adjusting well to life in Indiana.
“I am grateful that because your parents make the sacrifice to send you to a Catholic school you are able to discuss this issue of resettling refugees in the United States in the context as followers of Jesus. It is not easy to stand up for this family when many others are reacting to the situation out of fear for our safety or out of a dislike of foreigners. Jesus calls us to welcome refugees and migrants unselfishly and to remove fear from our hearts.
“Thank you to Sister Joni, who helps you explore our Catholic Faith so that it makes a difference in your daily lives. During this Jubilee Year of Mercy let’s pray together for our Syrian refugee family and for our country and our leaders. And, let’s remember to pray for each other.”
Sister Joni said she felt Archbishop would respond after receiving the letter from the students.
“I had a strong feeling we would hear from him,” she said. “He is just that kind of leader. He is attentive to the needs of the times and children are very high on his priority list.
“I have attended several of his functions. He was here at St. Patrick School’s 60th anniversary and I took some college girls to the Bishop’s Bash in Indianapolis. It is my humble opinion that Archbishop Tobin and Pope Francis are cut from the same cloth and that is a very good thing.”
What a beautiful way to make the Gospel message real to these children, Joni. So grateful for your prophetic leadership and for your determination not to shy away from significant relevant topics even though they are complex and challenging. Que sigue adelante!
I’m so proud of you, Joni, that you pass on your Gospel values to your students.
Appreciate the work you are doing, Joni. Thanks for engaging your students in processes to link the gospel with the real headlines of their days. Blessings on your ministry.