World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Last Sunday, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees was celebrated across Sandhurst and across the world. For 107 years, this has been a day, designated by the Pope, to focus on the issues of migration and seeking refuge. Pope Francis’ specially chosen theme this year is Towards an Ever-Wider 'We'.

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO), has prepared a kit containing Pope Francis’ Message as well as reflections and stories from around Australia. You’ll find it at www.acmro.catholic.org.au

Also at the ACMRO website, you’ll find pastoral orientations on Climate Displaced People. This has particular relevance as we are celebrating Migrant and Refugee Sunday in the Season of Creation. This document brings together the issue of refugees and climate. It is an eye-opener on the reality of climate change and increasing numbers of climate refugees. “According to a 2018 World Bank Report focused on sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, from 31 million to as many as 143 million people (about 2.8% of the global population) may need to migrate within their own countries by 2050 due to the climate crisis.”

Below are snippets from Pope Francis’ Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2021.

“Once this health crisis passes, our worst response would be to plunge even more deeply into feverish consumerism and new forms of egotistic self-preservation. God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those’, but only ‘us’” (Fratelli Tutti 35). For this reason, I have wished to devote the Message for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme, Towards An Ever Wider “We”, in order to indicate a clear horizon for our common journey in this world."

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"The present time, however, shows that this “we” willed by God is broken and fragmented, wounded and disfigured. This becomes all the more evident in moments of great crisis, as is the case with the current pandemic. Our “we”, both in the wider world and within the Church, is crumbling and cracking due to myopic and aggressive forms of nationalism (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 11) and radical individualism (cf. ibid., 105). And the highest price is being paid by those who most easily become viewed as others: foreigners, migrants, the marginalised, those living on the existential peripheries. The truth, however, is that we are all in the same boat and called to work together so that there will be no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but only a single “we”, encompassing all of humanity."

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"In our day, the Church is called to go out into the streets of every existential periphery in order to heal wounds and to seek out the straying, without prejudice or fear, without proselytising, but ready to widen her tent to embrace everyone. Among those dwelling in those existential peripheries, we find many migrants and refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking, to whom the Lord wants his love to be manifested and his salvation preached. “The current influx of migrants can be seen as a new ‘frontier’ for mission, a privileged opportunity to proclaim Jesus Christ and the Gospel message at home, and to bear concrete witness to the Christian faith in a spirit of charity and profound esteem for other religious communities. The encounter with migrants and refugees of other denominations and religions represents a fertile ground for the growth of open and enriching ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.”

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"Today’s migration movements offer an opportunity for us to overcome our fears and let ourselves be enriched by the diversity of each person’s gifts. Then, if we so desire, we can transform borders into privileged places of encounter, where the miracle of an ever wider “we” can come about."

Migrant Refugees WorldDay 2