Worshipping at the border with help from Chicago

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WGN's Dina Bair has reported from the Texas-Mexico border this week.

MCALLEN, Texas -- As the desperate attempts are underway to reunite parents and children, there are others working tirelessly to take care of families in need.

150 to 200 families come to the Humantirian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas every day.

And just a few miles away, the Sacred Heart of Jesus church is being built with donations from Chicago.  The church will be accessible to those who cross the border to work and worship.

Father Juan Manuel Salazar said he is so thankful the church will open its doors to the people on Wednesday.

"Work has been non stop," he said.  "We are so thankful to Chicago. "

The church is not the only major change for Father Juan. He traded in fatigues and a gun for a collar. He first served in the U.S. military then got a call to serve differently.

"Before I was a soldier in the world, and served our country and was willing to give my life for something bigger that I believed in," he said.   "and the Lord took that and extended it a thousand fold."

The partially constructed border wall is steps from Sacred Heart Church.

The area has the highest concentration of Catholics in the country. Father Juan said caring for them is not about politics, it’s about people.

"We have to be careful not to dehumanize. We are all brothers and sisters of the human race.  We all come from the same place. We are one in our humanity."

Wednesday, Dina Bair series from Texas continues with a look at the Respite Center and the families in need.  Parents and children getting food, clothing and direction because of caring people and kind Chicagoans.


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