Rome (Italy). World Day of Migrants and Refugees is celebrated around the world on 27 September 2020. Called for the first time by the Church in 1914, it is celebrated on the last Sunday of September, and is an opportunity to raise awareness about the life and fate of vulnerable people on the move, to pray for them as they face great challenges, and to emphasize the opportunities that migration offers.
The title of the Message for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 èis “Like Jesus Christ, forced to flee welcome; protect, promote, integrate internally displaced persons”.
Pope Francis draws attention to those who are forced to flee, the internally displaced, a category of people who are often invisible. Invisibility that is made even more serious today by the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has ended up by making us forget the many other tragedies that continue to take place on Earth
The message starts from the biblical icon of the Flight into Egypt that inspired Pope Pius XII in writing the Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia.
Pope Francis says: “In the flight to Egypt, little Jesus experiences, together with his parents, the tragic condition of being displaced and a refugee “marked by fear, uncertainty, hardship (cf. Mt 2:13-15/19-23).
Today, millions of families can recognize themselves in this sad reality. We are called to recognize in their faces, the face of Christ hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, a foreigner, and a prisoner who challenges us (cf. Mt 25: 31-46)”.
Welcoming requires a concrete commitment, vigilant and comprehensive attention, the availability of resources, a chain of collaborative initiatives and actions towards the common mission.
Understand and know
Pope Francis indicates concrete actions: to understand one must first know: the displaced are people tried by suffering. Knowing their stories and being at their side, hearing from them their experience of precariousness and escape. How many examples we have during this pandemic time from doctors, nurses, volunteers, from simple and hidden people who have put part of their purchases in the ‘suspended cost shopping’ cart.
Reconcile and listen
The Pope emphasizes that “love, which reconciles and saves, begins with listening“. Today there are many messages that arrive, but to listen is to let them enter and remain in you. The silence that ‘reigned in the streets for weeks’ offered the opportunity to hear the cry of the forgotten, the most vulnerable, the rejected. This listening can lead to real growth through sharing.
Involve and promote
Nobody can be left out. The pandemic itself has raised common concerns and fears by reminding us that no one is saved alone! The next step, therefore, is to involve and promote. Co-responsibility becomes the way to involve the people to whom assistance is offered. Everyone must be a protagonist in this community and social process.
The Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians acts concretely towards refugees, with evangelical, courageous, creative choices, widening the spaces for an ever more incisive and credible welcome. The Educating Communities are ‘home’ for many displaced people, especially women and children. In them they are able to see the tenacity and the spirit of sacrifice of young people, families, and communities who in all parts of the world open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, despite the precariousness of resources.