Message from the Pastor

Bulletin Issue: June 18 & 25, 2017

Living Our Mission:  Accompany One Another in Christ

This week's column is written by Kate Tromble, Pastoral Associate for Social Justice

World Refugee Day was created by the United Nations in 2000 to commemorate the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Although celebrated on a different day than the Catholic World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the day has the same goal: to raise awareness to the plight of refugees in our world and invite people of good will to stand in solidarity with refugees.

For 2017, the Pope has chosen to focus on the theme of minor migrants vulnerable and voiceless. I share here an excerpt from His Holiness’s message for your reflection:

“[A]mong migrants, children constitute the most vulnerable group, because as they face the life ahead of them, they are invisible and voiceless: their precarious situation deprives them of documentation, hiding them from the world’s eyes; the absence of adults to accompany them prevents their voices from being raised and heard. In this way, migrant children easily end up at the lowest levels of human degradation, where illegality and violence destroy the future of too many innocents, while the network of child abuse is difficult to break up. How should we respond to this reality?

“Firstly, we need to become aware that the phenomenon of migration is not unrelated to salvation history, but rather a part of that history. One of God’s commandments is connected to it: You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt

“[The Church] encourages us to recognize God’s plan. She invites us to do this precisely amidst this phenomenon, with the certainty that no one is a stranger in the Christian community, which embraces ‘every nation, tribe, people and tongue.’ Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants. Furthermore, we need to work towards protection, integration and long-term solutions. We are primarily concerned with adopting every possible measure to guarantee the protection and safety of child migrants.

“Secondly, we need to work for the integration of children and youngsters who are migrants...Thirdly, to all I address a heartfelt appeal that long-term solutions be sought and adopted. Since this is a complex phenomenon, the question of child migrants must be tackled at its source. It is absolutely necessary, therefore, to deal with the causes which trigger migrations in the countries of origin. This requires, as a first step, the commitment of the whole international community to eliminate the conflicts and violence that force people to flee.

“Furthermore, far-sighted perspectives are called for, capable of offering adequate programs for areas struck by the worst injustice and instability, in order that access to authentic development can be guaranteed for all. This development should promote the good of boys and girls, who are humanity’s hope.

“Lastly, I wish to address a word to you, who walk alongside migrant children and young people: they need your precious help. The Church too needs you and supports you in the generous service you offer. Do not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable.

“I entrust all child migrants, their families, their communities, and you who are close to them, to the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth; may they watch over and accompany each one on their journey. With my prayers, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.”