There are many reasons why people migrate: to escape political or religious or ethnic persecution, to find work or advancement, to pursue education or health care, to escape the violence of war and gangs and terrorists, to rebuild lives and seek opportunities for their children. In this day we must also add the increasing frequency and intensity of climate change events that devastate farmlands and livelihoods, destroy homes and entire villages, and exacerbate civil and political unrest. More and more peoples are forced to move. In fact, millions more. Where do they go? Where can they go? Who will welcome them?
Reading: “Migration movements, in fact, call us to deepen and strengthen the values needed to guarantee peaceful coexistence between persons and cultures. Achieving mere tolerance that respects diversity and ways of sharing between different backgrounds and cultures is not sufficient. This is precisely where the Church contributes to overcoming frontiers and encouraging the ‘moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization … towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world.
It is necessary to respond to the globalization of migration with the globalization of charity and cooperation, in such a way as to make the conditions of migrants more humane. At the same time, greater efforts are needed to guarantee the easing of conditions … which compel whole peoples to leave their native countries.
Solidarity with migrants and refugees must be accompanied by the courage and creativity necessary to develop, on a world-wide level, a more just and equitable financial and economic order, as well as an increasing commitment to peace, the indispensable condition for all authentic progress.”
Pope Francis’ message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees: “A Church without frontiers, mother to all”
For all those who see “home” and all it means
Disappear behind them;
For all those who cannot see a home
In the days ahead of them;
For all those who dwell in
For all those who are weary and
Without a safe place to rest their heads;
For all families in migration we pray.
May the image of the Holy Family
Fleeing oppression stay with us as we enter a New Year,
And stay with us each night as we are blessed
With returning to a home.
May we also be blessed
With compassion for those
Still weary, still seeking,
Still with so far to go.
by Jane Deren, 2007
(from Office for Immigration Affairs and Immigration Education,
Archdiocese of Chicago)