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Chuck Dahm, OP (Central Province)
Associate Pastor, St. Pius V Parish
Co-Coordinator of Peace and Justice for Dominicans in North America
Chicago, Illinois

Chuck Dahm, OP, speaking at the 2010 May Day march for immigration reform in Chicago.

I have worked at St. Pius V parish in Chicago as pastor and now associate pastor for 24 years. Our parish community consists overwhelmingly of Mexican immigrants who struggle daily to feed their families and escape the injustices perpetrated by the U.S. system of justice.

Our parish has developed many programs to welcome and serve immigrant families: a food pantry and soup kitchen, secondhand clothing store, legal assistance office, daily after-school program for 80 students, parenting classes, six full-time counselors for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and even for abusers currently non-violent, a marriage enrichment program, a large religious education program that includes SPRED for 50 children with disabilities, and quinceañera program.

Through our leadership program, we have developed a large social action committee that works energetically on immigration reform. They have organized people to participate in marches, attend rallies, register voters, meet with legislators and currently get out the vote.

I was happy to help draft the DLC letter seeking reform of our unjust immigration laws. The letter was carefully crafted to be comprehensive and faith-based and closely connected to the experiences of immigrants in the United States today. I believe it is important for Dominicans to speak to this reality in the spirit of truth and justice.

Our parish is featured in a few new books: “Marcha: Latino Chicago and the Immigrant Rights Movement,” edited by Amalia Pallares, University of Illinois Press, and “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us” by Robert Putnam and David Campbell. My book, “Parish Ministry in a Hispanic Community,” Paulist Press, also explains the strategies developed in our parish to respond to the needs of the immigrant community.

BACK to Immigration Resolution main page