Rome (Italy). On 26 September 2021, the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (GMMR) is celebrated, established by the Church in 1914 to bring the reality of migrants and refugees to the attention and prayers of the ecclesial and civil communities.
The theme of Message 2021 – Towards an ever greater “we” – expresses a concern and a desire that Pope Francis takes from the Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti: “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’.“ (n. 35).
The “we” is the horizon of the common journey, always present in the project of Creation (Gen 1: 27-28) and “destined to include the whole human family, all peoples.” A journey that has as its center and fulfillment the mystery of Christ, who died and rose “so that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).
Yet this ‘we’ willed by God “is broken and fragmented, wounded and disfigured”, especially in times of greater crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic, in which nationalisms and individualism divide the ‘we’ and lead to distance oneself from the ‘others’: foreigners, migrants, the marginalized, those who live in the existential peripheries.
“In reality, we are all in the same boat and we are called to commit ourselves so that there are no more walls that separate us, there are no longer the ‘others’, but only a ‘we’, as big as the whole of humanity”, says Pope Francis, and he launches a double appeal to walk together towards an ever greater we:
An increasingly Catholic Church. Universality is the reality of the Church to be recognized and lived in every age. The action of the Spirit makes us capable of “embracing everyone to make communion in diversity, harmonizing differences without ever imposing a uniformity that depersonalizes.” The Catholic faithful and the Church are therefore called to welcome diversity as an opportunity for mutual enrichment, to open up to existential peripheries without prejudices and fears, to recognize in contemporary migratory flows a new missionary ‘frontier’ and a privileged opportunity to proclaim Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
An increasingly inclusive world, a single human family, where no one is excluded: “The future of our societies is a future ‘in color’, enriched by diversity and intercultural relations. This is why we must learn today to live together, in harmony and peace.” The Pope’s appeal requires the commitment of all men and women to tear down walls and foster the culture of encounter, to make good use of the gifts received from God and to be co-responsible in making creation even more beautiful, the common treasure, to “achieve a more sustainable, balanced, and inclusive development.”
To prepare for and live the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2021, the Web Site of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development offers materials in various languages to celebrate the Day and multimedia resources to use and share: the video of the Pope to promote greater understanding and awareness in the communities towards migrants and refugees and some testimonies of positive experiences of migration.
The Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians welcomes the pastoral challenge of becoming close to those who find themselves living in situations of precariousness and marginalization, through the concrete action of many Educating Communities of the world who open their doors and hearts to give hope and a better future for families of migrants and refugees, educating to respect for diversity and inclusiveness.
“Dreams, on the other hand, are built together. Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our Common Home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.” (cf. FT 8).