Pastoral Migratoria, Immigrant Social Ministry

When comprehensive immigration reform failed to pass the Senate in 2007 – and it became apparent there would be no legislative reform in the near term – Chicago’s immigrant community wondered what they could do to help one another in light of their increasing, urgent basic human and pastoral needs in the absence of any immigration reform.

In response we developed our immigrant leadership ministries, called the Immigrant Social Ministry (e.g. Pastoral Migratoria and Polish Immigrant-to-Immigrant Ministry), that are empowering Hispanic and Polish immigrant lay leaders through service and justice actions in parishes.

Mission & Objectives

Leadership Formation – Empowerment – Integration

Introduced in 2010, Pastoral Migratoria invites Hispanic immigrants to respond to their baptismal call to be engaged in service and justice actions in their parish communities. Currently, over 200 Hispanic lay leaders (40 Hispanic parishes) are actively participating in Pastoral Migratoria in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Pastoral Migratoria also responds to the call to evangelize individuals and society. Pastoral Migratoria is grounded in and carries forth the pastoral call of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Latin America (Aparecida, 2007) for the lay faithful to transform society as agents of evangelization and an embodiment of the Church.


Leadership Development & Reflection

Candidates for Pastoral Migratoria participate in a six-week leadership training series based in Catholic social teaching and the listen-learn-proclaim (see-judge-act) methodology. Training leverages a series of formation modules we developed that integrates reflection on Scripture from the immigrant perspective, with reflection and analysis on civic issues facing the immigrant community. Ongoing leadership skills development includes public speaking, conducting meetings, teamwork, organizing workshops and information tables, community organizing, etc. There are also ongoing opportunities for prayer and biblical reflection (e.g. retreats, forums)

After completing their initial training and being commissioned for this ministry, the lay leaders work at the parish level to identify and prioritize the social and pastoral needs of their local community, and respond with service and justice actions.


The pastoral agents play major roles in advancing immigrant rights and integration by working toward systemic change in society. In support of the Justice for Immigrants' Campaign, they participate in the planning and implementation in their local parishes of advocacy initiatives such as postcard and petition campaigns. They organize prayer vigils, pilgrimages, and congressional visits involving their parish communities. They take leadership roles in the local rollout of new immigration policies such as the Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, etc.

Service & Accompaniment

The pastoral agents also provide basic human support and accompaniment. They work in collaboration with community organizations and partner institutions to disseminate information through the infrastructure of their parish (e.g. information tables after Masses, Sunday bulletin ads and inserts, verbal announcements at Masses); provide workshops with professionals or experts in a particular area (e.g. immigration, labor rights, housing, domestic violence, financial literacy, etc.); and bring resources to the parish community (e.g. health fair, legal clinic, counseling services) and accompany families who are experiencing detention or deportation.

Immigrant Social Ministry Brochures [Español] [English]

Brochure for Pastoral Migratoria Formation [English]

Map of Parishes with Pastoral Migratoria [Click Here]

Pastoral Migratoria Facebook Page [Click Here]

Polish Immigrant-to-Immigrant Ministry [Click Here]

If you would like to visit the Pastoral Migratoria Spanish Page, please follow this link [Pagina en Español]

"I give thanks to Pastoral Migratoria for helping us to see that we could be true leaders of our community." ~Josè, Pastoral Migratoria, St. Jerome