Ref: Remembering Refugees, Migrants, Displaced Persons Your Excellency
The Migrants and Refugees (M&R) Section joyfully joins in celebrating SECAM’s Jubilee! During this month of March we are especially mindful of those who become vulnerable because in one way or another they are forced to flee. They include migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced persons or victims of human trafficking … though some may be known by other local names or “labels” as well.
It was in Uganda in 2015 that Pope Francis memorably appealed to everyone “not to forget the poor, not to forget the poor! The Gospel commands us to go out to the peripheries of society and to find Christ in the suffering and those in need. The Lord tells us, in no uncertain terms, that is what he will judge us on! How sad it is when our societies allow the elderly to be rejected or neglected! How wrong it is when the young are exploited by the modern-day slavery of human traf icking! If we look closely at the world around us, it seems that, in many places, selfishness and indif erence are spreading. How many of our brothers and sisters are victims of today’s throwaway culture, which breeds contempt above all towards the unborn, the young and the elderly!”
In this spirit of not to forget, the SECAM Jubilee calendar invites us “to fight for migrants at the level of hospitality and legally. It calls us to perceive migration as a rewarding encounter. Do not think only of migrations to other continents, but also within the continent, or even the country. How do we welcome ourselves in our neighborhoods, our villages, or our Christian communities?”
How can each local Church respond? During the month of March, we can focus on what is being done for the different kinds of vulnerable people on the move in our area or Diocese. Who is involved in this ministry? Can we encourage and bless them in their important pastoral mission? Can we invite others to get involved?
We can also raise awareness among our parishioners and young people: at Masses during this month, in homilies and prayers of the faithful at schools: in classes or special activities; in communications: in print or other formats, on radio and television, on the internet and in social media. One very good resource is the 3.5-minute video of Pope Francis encouraging our response (https://youtu.be/jSabvJT1CQk) . Many other ideas, images and resources are available on the Migrants and Refugees website (https://migrants-refugees.va/).
In a few weeks the Migrants and Refugees Section will begin preparing this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Sunday 29 September 2019). You will be warmly invited to join in, to echo and to amplify the messages which M&R will share with you each month. We hope that you will tell us about your ministry regarding our vulnerable brothers and sisters on the move.
Please share this letter with those in your Diocese or area who are already involved, and let us know who they are, or encourage them to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Through the intercession of Saint Bakhita, may the Church – the Family of God in Africa – grow more and more to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate all the vulnerable people in our midst. Joining me in this prayer are the under-secretaries Fr Fabio Baggio, C.S., and Fr Michael Czerny, S.J.