Binational mass in Tijuana and Imperial Beach raises awareness a - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Binational mass in Tijuana and Imperial Beach raises awareness about immigration

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Dozens gathered on both sides of the U.S. Mexico border, not to protest, but to pray.

A binational mass was celebrated Saturday and was held in Tijuana, but was also took place in Imperial Beach and read by bishops. The focus of the mass was on children in the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. Dozens gathered on both sides of the border to take part in the mass. The binational event kicks off a mass that continues to the tip of South America.

"It begins here on the border with Mexico and goes all the way down to Patagonia. Each country prays and gathers to emphasize children who are at risk in each country," said Bishop Robert McElroy with the Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

In Imperial Beach, the U.S. Border Patrol takes part in the facilitation of the prayer session. The Border Patrol sent in extra agents to maintain security, because of the number of people within a typically restricted area.

This year the church is focusing on protecting children in the wake of the migrant caravan that arrived at the border earlier this year.

"Here in our own country as we are on the border, we are praying for the children who are being separated from their mothers as they are trying to come over," said Bishop McElroy.

The San Diego Diocese is opening its doors to mothers and children who are paroled after presenting an asylum case and permitted to temporarily remain in the United States.

During the Spanish language mass, bishops frequently discussed the need for love and understanding.

"We need to have humane immigration policies. We need congress to act and pass humane immigration policies. The whole world is watching,"  Enrique Morones with the Border Angels. "I was very encouraged by today's mass and I have faith that eventually we will get back on the right track."

The hour long mass wrapped up with a blessing on both sides and a message of peace.

"What we are trying to do is to point out the areas where families in particular and children in particular are at risk and many times, despite what policy positions people have in general and they do differ on the question of immigration, they understand that there is a vulnerability to children."Bishop Robert McElroy.

Binational mass is an annual event.

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