TracyI spent my high school and then college summers working in a factory where the temperature was always a sweaty 10 degrees warmer inside than outside. It was a job that some days transformed my old, white T-shirts into gray-black ones by the time I punched my timecard, but I could handle these summers because I knew it was a temporary situation.

What began as “just a summer job” quickly turned into a cultural learning experience where I was exposed to the reality of life for so many hard-working and fearful, undocumented immigrants who worked side-by-side with me, only they were supporting families and trying to keep the threads of their lives from unraveling due to fears of deportation. I learned more through the friendships I made during those summers, and my free study-abroad experience just 15 minutes from home, than I could have learned in a classroom.

My experiences in the factory put a face on the immigration issues that continue to flash across headlines and which have become the focus of numerous presentations and discussions, like “How, why we must ‘welcome the stranger,’” on Page 8. Before you make your mind up about undocumented immigrants, spend time with them like Catherine Curley suggests on Page 9, so that you can understand and see the people for who they are rather than letting them become one of the many labels they’ve been given. We hope that the immigration talk in this issue will give you another perspective on a topic that has been the focus of much debate.

Also in this issue, if you’re feeling like Lent just didn’t prove to be as fruitful as you anticipated, even after keeping on track with your Lenten sacrifices, be sure to check out Fr. Jerry’s column on page 11. He offers some great insight on what fasting and abstaining can really do for your life. You might also want to read Amy Taylor’s “Top 5 ways to stay motivated this summer” on Page 7 if you’re struggling in your spiritual life, at your job, in staying active, with your education or in your community.

Need inspiration? You might find it in one of the five young women who are “Leading lives of charity, walking in beauty,” on Page 6 or in Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki’s candid responses to personal and theological questions on Page 12. In the meantime, enjoy your summer, and check back in September when we return with a breakdown of the new translation of the Roman Missal. See you soon!