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St. Louis Community Offers Prayers For Undocumented Children

Community members signed this banner to welcome undocumented youth from Central America. If St. Louis is granted funds to house migrant children, the banner would hang in one of the facilities where the children would stay.
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Whether or not St. Louis will play host to migrant children who are part of the Central American border surge is still unclear. In the meantime, community members are praying.

Nearly 70 people gathered at Tower Grove Park for a prayer vigil for migrant children.

The vigil was hosted by a coalition of organizations that, along with St. Louis and St. Louis County, applied for federal grants to help house undocumented youth from Central America.

Javier Orozco is the executive director for intercultural and interreligious affairs at the Archdiocese of St. Louis, which co-hosted the event. He says several St. Louis organizations are ready to provide more than shelter to undocumented youth.

“It’s really a comprehensive plan to attend to the children, to provide for them that loving care that they need," he said. "It’s not just about opening up a shelter; it’s about opening up our hearts.”

Jessica Woolbright of St. Martha’s Hall says the event was about remembering both parents and children.

“I cannot image the heartache the parents must feel sending their children to a unknown country and not knowing what they are going to, but if we remember them and pray for them and we do what we can to welcome them into St. Louis, then maybe that makes it a little better for them.”

The plan submitted by Catholic Charities and its partners would provide housing for 60 migrant children. St. Louis organizations will find out if they are granted funds to care for undocumented minors in September.