Postville immigration raid remembered through Interfaith Prayer Service; all are summoned to work for immigration reform

Hundreds gathered at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Postville Friday in remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the Postville Immigration Raid, in which 402 people were arrested.

In observance of the 10th anniversary of the Postville Immigration Raid, an interfaith prayer service was held at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church last Friday morning. Although the mood was somber, the tone of much needed immigration reform came through loud and clear. Church bells rang at 10:02 a.m., denoting the time of the morning when the raid began, as those who filled the church to capacity and beyond, once again remembered the events which changed the Community of Postville forever.

The service began with a “Book of Names” of those detained on May 12, 2008 being placed on the altar by Consuelo Lopez, who was a detainee, her son, Pedro and Paul Rael. Ten roses, representing the ten long years since the raid, were also placed on the altar and the trumpet was sounded to represent the summons calling for the urgent need for immigration reform.

In his welcome, Father Nils de Jesus Hernandez, encouraged everyone to pray for the families affected by the raid in Mt. Pleasant last week. He recalled memories of the fateful day when 389 workers at Agri-Processors were arrested and the community of Postville was changed forever. Of those detained 290 were Guatemalans, 93 were Mexican, two were from Israel and four were from the Ukraine.

He said, “St. Bridget church became a place of hope and refuge where people gathered in solidarity. Our immigration system continues to be broken and we need urgent reform. St. Bridget’s welcomes immigrants”

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