Catholic church in Alamo will offer temporary shelter for migrants
Resurrection Catholic Church in Alamo welcomed 40 migrants Wednesday — offering them temporary shelter after they were released from custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Father Rene Angel personally welcomed the migrants, offering them a place to stay. Resurrection Catholic Church partnered with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley to offer them temporary shelter.
"Father Rene has been just so welcoming and the community has also been so welcoming, and it's just so good to have this partnership with Sacred Heart," said Sister Norma Pimentel, the executive director of Catholic Charities.
For more than three years, Catholic Charities sheltered migrants at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church parish hall in downtown McAllen — a short walk from the bus station where the federal government unceremoniously started releasing migrants in summer 2014.
"We wanted to give the parish hall back to Sacred Heart. They definitely needed it, and so it was a big concern that I had make sure we would move out of that location," said Pimentel, adding that Catholic Charities plans to provide services for migrants at a new location on Beaumont Avenue.
Pimentel said the Beaumont Avenue location is smaller than the Sacred Heart parish hall, which prompted Catholic Charities make arrangements with Resurrection Catholic Church in Alamo.
"Our goal is to eventually build a facility that is across the street from Sacred Heart and it will serve its purpose to the community so hopefully this gives us enough time to do it right,” Pimentel said. “Whether it takes a year or more, we can do that now because we know that we can count on Resurrection."
Angel is a fierce advocate for the rights of migrants regardless of their legal status. At a recent Hidalgo County Commissioners Court meeting, he described Jesus Christ as "the first illegal."
"That's why we are here and the community is very open to help. And we are making the resources; the government is not helping us at least for now,," Angel said. “We are just helping these people with the willingness of the community and they are putting one thing or another."
Angel said since he made the announcement on Sunday, donations have been pouring in from residents who support their efforts.
For now, migrants are checked in at the new location on Beaumont Avenue and transported to the parish hall in Alamo.