DALLAS — In the parking lot outside St. Patrick Catholic Church in Northeast Dallas, the Rev. Josef Vollmer-König greets his parishoners with hugs and good wishes.
"Have a good day; God bless you!" he said with a grin.
Rev. Vollmer-König is proud of his church's diversity. In fact, he challenges a visitor to name a country and says it is likely that one of his members will represent the location.
Senait Kalleb, from East Africa is proof of that.
"Its a very welcoming church", Kalleb said. "We have a lot of diversity here."
But she's not the only foreigner. So too is Vollmer-König, who is from Germany. His American citizenship is one reason why he held a special mass to support immigration reform on Sunday.
"We want everybody to live in protection and peace," the pastor said.
On Sunday morning, before a packed church, Vollmer-König gave a short homily and then participated in prayers seeking economic justice and political reform.
He said his decision to participate was motivated by teachings in the Bible, and the fact that many Catholics are immigrants.
"At least 50 percent of my community comes from another country and making us what we are," Vollmer-König said.
Terri Muldoon assists with the St. Patrick refugee outreach and believes change must start in the pulpit.
"I can't imagine a better place than it should be than dealt with here in the church," she said. "This is compassion! All the Bible is about immigrants."
Newly minted U.S. citizen Francois Nyongera is using prayer to help win her path to citizenship.
"Prayer works," she said. "I'm witness of those prayers. I'm a living witness!"