"May the Mediterranean never again be a theatre of death and inhumanity.
"May the Lord enlighten the minds and hearts of all, arousing feelings of fraternity, solidarity and welcome.”
World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) is an annual celebration marked by the Church to increase awareness about migration and its opportunities, as well as its challenges. The day is marked on the last Sunday of September and has been celebrated by the Church since 1914. This year, the celebration will be marked on Sunday 24th September.
The Pope shares an annual message to mark the celebration and the theme for this year’s message is Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay. In his message, the Pope recognises the many reasons for flight, including conflicts and natural disasters, which force people to flee and deny them the opportunity to live a dignified and prosperous life in their native land. The Pope recognises the need for eliminating the causes of migration, calling for the shared commitment of all to recognise their responsibility and identify actions to be taken, but also to recognise what we need to stop doing in order to prevent the devastation and destruction of our common home.
The Pope speaks of the common good, respect for fundamental rights, and access to an integral human development to ensure each person is able to live a truly dignified and fulfilling life, to allow homelands to flourish and to ensure migration is a free decision. The Pope reiterates the importance of respecting the rights of migrants and upholding their dignity by building bridges and not walls, and to ensure there is always a community ready to welcome, protect, promote and integrate everyone, without distinctions and without excluding anyone.
In Preparation for the day CSAN ( Caritas Social Action Network of England and Wales) is hosting a webinar on the evening of 20th September. Register to attend.
On behalf of Caritas Southwark and Justice Peace Jackie McLoughlin will be running 4 pilot seminars to support the dissemination of ‘Love the Stranger’ the latest teaching document of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales. Please watch out for details.
Resources you may find useful:
- Love the stranger the Catholic Bishops resource for dioceses https://www.cbcew.org.uk/love-the-stranger/
- The World Day for Migrants and Refugees website has some wonderful resources on their website.
- CAFOD has resources for schools to explore the refugee crisis, explaining why people are forced to flee their homes and ways we can help.
- The Jesuit Refugee Service has a number of ways you can get involved, ranging from donations, hosting a refugee to prayer resources.
- The South London Refugee Association is always looking for more support, they help refugees, asylum seekers and migrants with a range of activities such as casework.
- Unicef has free teaching resources to explore the migrant crisis with children and young people.
- For those wanting data and stats on the refugee crisis, UNHCR has a range of information.
God, Father Almighty, grant us the grace to work tirelessly for justice, solidarity and peace, so that all your children may enjoy the freedom to choose whether to migrate or to stay. Grant us the courage to denounce all the horrors of our world, and to combat every injustice that mars the beauty of your children and the harmony of our common home. Sustain us by the power of your Spirit, so that we can reflect your tender love 3 to every migrant whom you place in our path, and to spread in hearts and in every situation the culture of encounter and of care.