Padova (Italy). On 28 June 2022 in Padua, at the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate, the ecumenical prayer “Dying of hope” was held, in memory of those who lose their lives while traveling to Europe, presided over by Fr. Luca Facco, Episcopal Vicar for relations with the territory of the Diocese of Padua.
The initiative is promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio in collaboration with the Diocesan Migrant Office, the Methodist Church of Padua, the Romanian Orthodox Parish Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and some associations that work with migrants, including VIDES Veneto, the volunteer association promoted by the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. On the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated on 25 September 2022, the FMA with VIDES Veneto, collaborate every year in organizing this prayer with the Community of Sant’Egidio present in Padua.
About 100 people participated in the prayer vigil, including families from Ukraine with their children. We prayed for in a special way, the 3,200 refugees who, from January 2021 to June 2022, lost their lives in the Mediterranean and along the land routes, trying to reach Europe in search of a better future. For each group of names read, a candle was lit and a special prayer was read.
The over 62,390 dead and missing from 1990 to 2022 were remembered in their attempt to reach Europe. Of these, at least 21,000 lost their lives since 2015. Together with those who died on other continents, all those whose names and stories are in the heart of God, even those unknown to us were remembered in prayer. Prayer for migrants, in fact, makes one feel like a brother/sister especially to those who die without a name, ignored by everyone, so it is natural to raise our thoughts for them to God, the Father of all.
At the end, each participant was given a flower, as a symbol of life, fragile and beautiful, always loved by the Lord, to remind them that even in sorrow and suffering, life is reborn and resurrected. May the memory of those who lost their lives on journeys of hope open hearts to love and responsibility in building a society that is more welcoming and in solidarity with everyone.
Prayer for the migrants
like sheep without a shepherd they go in search of a homeland.
They are besieged by wolves, by false mercenary shepherds.
They cannot advance and they cannot retreat,
between walls, barbed wire and dogs, merciless looks and violence.
They have no father or mother; they have neither country nor home.
Come to their aid, You, Shepherd of Israel,
guide Your people through the perils of the sea and of the desert.
Raise up guides in the dark and comforters along the way.
Open the doors and walls, the hearts and arms
of a hostile and inhospitable world.
You, Shepherd of Israel, listen to our prayer
and their cries of pain.