George Graham

Serving the Afflicted


If those kidnapped refugee children are ever reunited with their parents, it won’t be because of Ice Queen Kirstjen Nielsen (photo) or heartless apparatchik Alex Azar . It will be groups like Catholic Charities we have to thank.

These privately funded groups – and an army of volunteers – are working day and night behind the scenes to identify and unite the families torn apart by Trump’s grotesque immigration mandate.

I don’t know about all of the activist groups doing this complex and time consuming job, but I know a little about Catholic Charities. I wrote a feature article about them long ago, when I worked for the Tampa Tribune.

As a newspaper reporter, I was obliged to stick to the facts in that article. I couldn’t let my emotions or opinions show. But I have more license in this blog to reveal my feelings, so I can tell you those folks won my heart. They were magnificent.

Their mission was to serve the shamelessly exploited immigrant families who toil in Central Florida’s strawberry fields.

Those nuns not only  baby sat the children as both parents spent every daylight hour squatting in the blistering sunshine,  trying to earn a few dollars.  They also taught those kids their ABC’s, fed them when they were hungry and nursed them lovingly when they were sick or hurt.

Meanwhile, a priest helped the immigrant parents navigate America’s daunting immigration maze, protecting them from a soulless bureaucracy and reuniting wives and husbands cruelly parted by the US-Mexico border.

These missionaries were nothing like the obnoxious zealots who give religion a bad name. They were true Christians, feeding the hungry, healing the sick and providing succor to the vulnerable and oppressed.

And I, for one, am grateful for the work they do, often unacknowledged and sometimes even vilified.

People like these reinforce my faith and keep me from surrendering to despair. May God bless them and give them the strength to carry on.

More on kidnapped kids

More on Catholic Charities

More on the unsung heroes

Groups reuniting refugee families

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for