Today 100 women from all across the country are embarking on a 100-mile pilgrimage from a detention center in York County, Pa., to Washington, D.C., a nine-day journey calling attention to the plight of immigrants in the run-up to Pope Francis’ visit to the nation’s capital.
The women will make stops in Pennsylvania and Maryland to share their personal stories of dealing with the U.S. immigration system and how current policies are affecting them, their families, and their communities.
The marchers hope that Pope Francis, who is widely expected to address the issue of immigration during his visit, will use language that will provide a compassionate counterweight to the recent inflammatory rhetoric of many U.S. political candidates.
But the marchers are also hoping that the pope will go even further and address specific issues with the U.S. immigration system, the way that he has called for action to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees and of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America.
The women will arrive in D.C. on September 22 and hold a vigil that evening at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. On the following morning, the final leg of their pilgrimage will take them from the Basilica to the White House, where the president will receive Pope Francis.
Read more about the march here.