(This story originally appeared in The Lowell Sun)
LOWELL — Members of the Lowell House of Prayer are placing their faith in the cause for immigration reform, part of a 12-day campaign launched last week.
“The purpose is to gather people together in praying for immigration reform — laws for immigration reform that could meet our reality,” senior pastor Marco Romeiro said last Wednesday inside the house of worship located at 14 McIntyre St., Lowell. “The intention is to go to a higher authority, going to God’s presence for that.”
Behind Romeiro stood a member of his predominantly Brazilian congregation on a stage, warming up a guitar before the special service began. Portuguese chatter filled the air as parishioners greeted one another.
Romeiro said he respects President Donald Trump.
“He was elected by the people and we pray for him, like the Bible says, and we understand that he’s dealing with his promises during the campaign,” Romeiro said. “But for us, every crisis is an opportunity for God’s intervention.”
Trump on Monday signed a new executive order that blocks citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The revised order, which removed Iraq and continues the 90-day ban on travelers, follows protests fueled by the president’s initial immigration directive on Jan. 27.
“As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continually re-evaluate and reassess the systems we rely upon to protect our country,” said U.S.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during Monday’s announcement. “While no system can be made completely infallible, the American people can have high confidence we are identifying ways to improve the vetting process and thus keep terrorists from entering our country.”
Romeiro described Trump’s initial order as too extreme.
“You have to find the terrorists,” he said, “but hurting good people because of this is not fair.”
The special service last Wednesday included prayer, testimonies, and performances. Romeiro told his members at the very beginning that the focus was immigration reform.
“We’re so happy, Lord,” Romeiro said in Portuguese. “We know You will do great things.”
The man with the guitar later took over the stage and engaged the congregation in praise songs. Some members bowed their heads, while others raised their hands and swayed to the music. “Vim para adorar-te,” they sang, which translates to “Here I am to worship.”