LIRS, in partnership with the Southwestern Texas Synod of the ELCA, organized an interfaith prayer vigil on Monday, October 20 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Karnes City, Texas to draw attention to increasing use of family detention and to end the incarceration of migrant children and mothers from Central America who are fleeing danger, poverty, and horrific violence.
Vigil participants heard from Zuluma Yolanda Portio, a Salvadorian mother of a 12-year-old boy who spent more than two months at the Karnes Detention Center. She spoke of being afraid that she will be separated from her child and disheartened that no one believed her story of fleeing for her life. She asked congregants to be full of prayers for her and others like her, because this is what gives her and people like her hope. The prayer vigil drew diverse faith communities from across the state and was led by Rev. Dr. Ray Tiemann, Bishop of the Southwestern Texas Synod, ELCA and assisted by Rev. Dr. David Collins, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Rev. Pedro Suarez, Assistant to the Bishop of the TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA.
After the prayer vigil, participants proceeded to the Karnes Detention Center to further put our faith into action with petitions for our brothers and sisters incarcerated within the facility, elected officials, administrators and detention officials and for ourselves as advocates.
The vigil ended with the ringing of the church bell sending congregants forth to a life of prayerful and compassionate service.