Instruction "The love of Christ towards migrants"

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

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Erga migrantes caritas Christi
(The love of Christ towards migrants)


Today’s migration makes up the vastest movement of people of all times. In these last decades, the phenomenon, now involving about two hundred million individuals, has turned into a structural reality of contemporary society. It is becoming an increasingly complex problem from the social, cultural, political, religious, economic and pastoral points of view.

Taking into consideration the new migration flows and their characteristics, the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi aims to update the pastoral care of migration, thirty-five years after the publication of Pope Paul VI’s Motu Proprio Pastoralis migratorum cura and the Congregation for Bishops’ related Instruction De pastorali migratorum cura (Nemo est).

Thus it intends to be an ecclesial response to the new pastoral needs of migrants and lead them towards the transformation of their migration experience not only into an opportunity to grow in Christian life, but also an occasion of new evangelization and mission. Furthermore, the document aims to apply accurately the norms contained both in the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church and in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in order to respond more adequately to the pastoral needs of the emigrant faithful of the Eastern Churches. They are now more and more numerous.

The composition of today’s migration also requires an ecumenical vision of the phenomenon because of the presence of many migrants not in full communion with the Catholic Church. It also imposes the need of inter-religious dialogue because of the increasing number of migrants belonging to other religions, particularly Muslims, in traditionally Catholic countries, and vice-versa. Finally, another purely pastoral need, which is indispensable, is the promotion of pastoral action that is both faithful to tradition and open to new developments. These include pastoral structures which must also be apt to guarantee communion between pastoral agents in the field of migration and the local hierarchy in the receiving country. The latter continues to be the decisive organ of the solicitude of the Church for migrants.

The document then rapidly reviews some causes of today’s migration phenomenon (globalization, demographic changes especially in the countries that were industrialized first, increase in inequality between North and South, the proliferation of conflicts and civil wars). After that, it highlights the grave difficulties that emigration generally entails for individuals, particularly women and children, as well as for families. Such a phenomenon raises the ethical problem of establishing a new international economic order with a more equitable distribution of the goods of the earth, in which the international community is considered a family of peoples whose relations are governed by International Law. Next, the Document presents a specific biblico-theological frame of reference, incorporating the migration phenomenon into the history of salvation, as a sign of the times and of the presence of God in history and in the community of peoples, directed to universal communion.

A brief historical excursus attests to the solicitude of the Church for migrants and refugees in its documents, from Exsul Familia to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, the Instruction De pastorali migratorum cura and the subsequent canonical norms. All this reveals important theological and pastoral insights. These include the centrality of the person of the migrant and the defense of his rights, the ecclesial and missionary dimension of migration itself, the consideration of the pastoral contribution of the lay faithful, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, the value of culture in the work of evangelization, the protection and the valorization of minorities also in the local Church, the importance of ecclesial dialogue, both intra and extra, and finally, the specific contribution that migration can offer for universal peace.

There then follows a presentation of other topics: the need for «inculturation», the vision of Church as communion, mission and People of God, the ever new importance of a specific pastoral care for migrants, the dialogical-missionary commitment of all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and the consequent duty of forming a culture of welcome and solidarity. These introduce the analysis of pastoral questions that require responses, specifically the pastoral approaches among Catholic migrants, both of the Latin and the Eastern rites, of migrants who belong to other Churches or Ecclesial Communities, and those who are followers of other religions, Islam in particular.

After this comes a more detailed description, or pastoral and juridical definition, of pastoral agents (namely, Chaplains/Missionaries and their National Coordinators, diocesan/eparchial priests, religious priests and brothers, women religious, lay people, lay associations and ecclesial movements), whose apostolic commitment is seen and considered in view of a «pastoral care of communion», an integrated one.

Another important pastoral characteristic, that the Document points out and proposes to the particular Churches, is the integration of pastoral structures (those already established and those proposed) and the ecclesial inclusion of migrants in ordinary pastoral care, with full respect for their legitimate diversity and of their spiritual and cultural patrimony, also in view of the formation of a concretely Catholic Church. Such an integration is an essential condition for pastoral care, for and with migrants, to become a significant expression of the universal Church and missio ad Gentes, fraternal and peaceful meeting, house of everyone, school of communion that is received and shared, of reconciliation that is implored and granted, of mutual and fraternal welcome and solidarity, as well as authentic human and Christian promotion.

The Instruction concludes with updated and accurate «juridico-pastoral regulations», which uses appropriate language in recalling duties, tasks and roles of pastoral agents and of the various Church entities in charge of the pastoral care of migration.

Stephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao


Agostino Marchetto

Titular Archbishop of Astigi




The Migration Phenomenon Today

The challenge of human mobility

1. The love of Christ towards migrants urges us (cf. 2 Co 5,14)to look afresh at their problems, which are to be met with today all over the world. In fact nearly all countries are now faced with the eruption of the migration phenomenon in one aspect or another; it affects their social, economic, political and religious life and is becoming more and more a permanent structural phenomenon. Migration is often determined by a free decision of the migrants themselves, taken fairly frequently not only for economic reasons but also for cultural, technical or scientific motives. As such it is for the most part a clear indication of social, economic and demographic imbalance on a regional or world-wide level, which drives people to emigrate.

The roots of the phenomenon can also be traced back to exaggerated nationalism and, in many countries, even to hatred and systematic or violent exclusion of ethnic or religious minorities from society. This can be seen in civil, political, ethnic and even religious conflicts raging in all continents. Such tensions swell the growing flood of refugees, who often mingle with other migrants. The impact can be felt in host societies, in which ethnic groups and peop
le with different languages and cultures are brought together with the risk of reciprocal opposition and conflict.

2. Migration, however, also helps people get to know one another and provides opportunity for dialogue and communion or indeed integration at various levels. Pope John Paul II drew attention to this in his Message for the World Day for Peace 2001: «In the case of many civilisations, immigration has brought new growth and enrichment. In other cases, the local people and immigrants have remained culturally separate but have shown that they are able to live together, respecting each other and accepting or tolerating the diversity of customs.»


3. The challenge confronting us in today’s migrations is not an easy one because many different spheres are involved: economics, sociology, politics, health, culture and security. All Christians must respond to this challenge; it is not just a matter of good will or the personal charisma of a few.

We must not, however, forget the generous response of many men and women, associations and organisations which, seeing the sufferings of countless persons caused by emigration, are struggling for the rights of migrants, forced or voluntary, and for their defence. The commitment of these people can be attributed above all to that compassion of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, that the Spirit stirs up everywhere in the hearts of men and women of good will and in the Church too, which «relives once more the mystery of her Divine Founder, the mystery of life and death»

2. Moreover the task entrusted by our Lord to His Church to proclaim the Word of God has been interwoven from the very beginning with the history of the emigration of Christians.

We therefore thought of writing this Instruction. Its prime purpose is to respond to the new spiritual and pastoral needs of migrants and to make migration more and more an instrument of dialogue and proclamation of the Christian message. In addition this Document sets out to provide an answer to certain important present-day needs. This includes the necessity to take into due account the new norms of the two Codes of Canon Law now in force for the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches, thus answering the particular needs of the growing numbers of emigrants of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Then there is also the need to bear in mind the ecumenical aspect of the phenomenon, owing to the presence among migrants of Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, and also the inter-religious aspect, owing to the increasing number of migrants of other religions, in particular Muslims. Finally our pastoral care must be open to new developments in pastoral structures themselves, while at the same time guaranteeing communion between pastoral workers in this specific field and the local hierarchy.

International Migration

4. The ever-increasing migration phenomenon today is an important component of that growing interdependence among nation states that goes to make up globalisation,

3 which has flung markets wide open but not frontiers, has demolished boundaries for the free circulation of information and capital, but not to the same extent those for the free circulation of people. No state is any longer exempt from the consequences of some form of migration, which is often strongly linked to negative factors. These include the demographic changes that are taking place in countries that were industrialised first, the increase in inequality between north and south, the existence of protectionist barriers in international trade, which do not allow emerging countries to sell their products on competitive terms in the markets of western countries and, finally, the proliferation of civil wars and conflicts. All these factors will increase migration flows in the years to come (cf. EEu 87, 115 and PaG 67), even though the appearance of terrorism on the international scene will provoke reactions for security reasons. These reactions will inevitably obstruct the movement of migrants who dream of finding a job and security in the so-called wealthy countries which, for their part, require more manpower.

5. It is not surprising, therefore, that migration meant and still means enormous hardships and suffering for the migrants. Yet, especially in more recent times and in certain circumstances, it has often been encouraged and promoted to foster the economic development of both the migrants’ host country and their country of origin (especially through their financial remittances). Many nations, in fact, would not be what they are today without the contribution made by millions of immigrants.

The emigration of family nuclei and women is particularly marked by suffering. Women migrants are becoming more and more numerous. They are often contracted as unskilled labourers (or domestics) and employed illegally. Often migrants are deprived of their most elementary human rights, including that of forming labour unions, when they do not become outright victims of the sad phenomenon of human trafficking, which no longer spares even children. This is a new chapter in the history of slavery.

However, even without such extremes, it is necessary to reiterate that foreign workers are not to be considered merchandise or merely manpower. Therefore they should not be treated just like any other factor of production. Every migrant enjoys inalienable fundamental rights which must be respected in all cases. Furthermore the migrants’ contribution to the economy of the host country comes together with the possibility for them to use their intelligence and abilities in their work.

6. In this regard, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and the Members of their Families – which entered into force on 1 July 2003 and whose ratification was strongly recommended by Pope John Paul II

4– offers a compendium of rights 5 that give migrants the possibility to make such a contribution. What the Convention foresees therefore deserves the adherence particularly of those states that benefit most from migration. To this end, the Church encourages the ratification of the international legal instruments that ensure the rights of migrants, refugees and their families. The Church also offers its advocacy, which is more and more necessary today, through its various competent institutions and associations (as centres for migrant needs, houses open to them, offices for necessary services, documentation and counselling, etc.). Migrants are often victims of illegal recruitment and of short-term contracts providing poor working and living conditions. This is because they often have to suffer physical, verbal and even sexual abuse, work long hours, often without the benefits of medical care and the usual forms of social security.

The precarious situation of so many foreigners, which should arouse everyone’s solidarity, instead brings about fear in many, who feel that immigrants are a burden, regard them with suspicion and even consider them a danger and a threat. This often provokes manifestations of intolerance, xenophobia and racism.


7. The growing presence of Muslims, as well as followers of other religions, in traditionally Christian countries falls under the broader and more complex heading of the meeting between cultures and interreligious dialogue. In any case, Christians are also present in significant numbers in some nations whose populations are in the vast majority Muslim.

In the face of the widespread migratory phenomenon, with aspects profoundly different today from what they were in the past, policies on a purely national level would be of little value. No country today may think that it can solve migration problems on its own. Even more ineffective would be purely restrictive policies, which, in turn, would generate still more negative effects, with the risk of increasing illegal entries and even favouring the activities of criminal organisations.

8. Internatio
nal migration must therefore be considered an important structural component of the social, economic and political reality of the world today. The large numbers involved call for closer and closer collaboration between countries of origin and destination, in addition to adequate norms capable of harmonising the various legislative provisions. The aim of this would be to safeguard the needs and rights of the emigrants and their families and, likewise, those of the societies receiving them.

At the same time, however, migration raises a truly ethical question: the search for a new international economic order for a more equitable distribution of the goods of the earth. This would make a real contribution to reducing and checking the flow of a large number of migrants from populations in difficulty. From this there follows the need for a more effective commitment to educational and pastoral systems that form people in a «global dimension», that is, a new vision of the world community, considered as a family of peoples, for whom the goods of the earth are ultimately destined when things are seen from the perspective of the universal common good.

9. Migration today furthermore imposes new commitments of evangelisation and solidarity on Christians and calls them to examine more profoundly those values shared by other religious or lay groups and indispensable to ensure a harmonious life together. The passage from monocultural to multicultural societies can be a sign of the living presence of God in history and in the community of mankind, for it offers a providential opportunity for the fulfilment of God’s plan for a universal communion. This new historical context is characterised by the thousand different faces of humanity and, unlike the past, diversity is becoming commonplace in very many countries. Therefore Christians are called to give witness to and practise not only the spirit of tolerance – itself a great achievement, politically and culturally speaking, not to mention religiously – but also respect for the other’s identity. Thus, where it is possible and opportune, they can open a way towards sharing with people of different origins and cultures, also in view of a «respectful proclamation» of their own faith. We are all therefore called to a culture of solidarity

7, often solicited by the Magisterium, so as to achieve together a real communion of persons. This is the laborious path that the Church invites everyone to follow.

Domestic migration

10. Recent times have also seen a considerable increase of domestic migration in various countries, sometimes voluntary, as that from country districts to cities, sometimes forced, as in the case of evacuees and of persons fleeing from terrorism, violence and drug-trafficking, especially in Africa and Latin America. It is estimated that world-wide the majority of migrants today remain within their own nations, in some cases moving about on a seasonal basis.

This type of mobility, left for the most part to evolve unattended, has encouraged the rapid and disordered expansion of urban centres unprepared to take in such masses of people and has fomented the growth of slums where conditions of life are socially and morally precarious. It compels migrants to settle in an environment that is very different from their place of origin, thus creating considerable hardship and grave danger of social uprooting with serious consequences for the religious and cultural traditions of these populations.

Nevertheless domestic migration keeps arousing great hopes, unfortunately often unfounded and illusory, in millions of persons, although it separates them from their family bonds and puts them in places with different climate and customs, even if the language may still be the same. If these migrants later return where they came from, they take with them a changed mentality, a different way of life, and not rarely another outlook on the world or religion, and divergent behaviour. This also challenges the pastoral action of the Church as Mother and Teacher.

11. In this field too, today’s situation thus requires of pastoral workers and host communities, in other words, of the Church, loving attention to «people on the move» and to their need for solidarity and fellowship. Through domestic migration too, the Spirit launches a clear and urgent appeal to renew and intensify our commitment to evangelisation and charity. This calls for well designed forms of welcome and pastoral activity, that is, continuous, thorough and adapted as closely as possible to the actual situation and specific needs of the migrants.


Migration, Sign of the Times and Concern for the Church

Migration as seen with the eyes of faith

12. In migrants the Church has always contemplated the image of Christ who said, «I was a stranger and you made me welcome» (Mt 25:35). Their condition is, therefore, a challenge to the faith and love of believers, who are called on to heal the evils caused by migration and discover the plan God pursues through it even when caused by obvious injustices. Migration brings together the manifold components of the human family and thus leads to the construction of an ever vaster and more varied society, almost a prolongation of that meeting of peoples and ethnic groups that, through the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, became ecclesial fraternity.

If, on the one hand, the suffering that goes with migration is neither more nor less than the birth-pangs of a new humanity, on the other the inequalities and disparities behind this suffering reveal the deep wounds that sin causes in the human family. They are thus an urgent appeal for true fraternity.

13. This vision leads us to approach migration in the light of those biblical events that mark the phases of humanity’s arduous journey towards the birth of a people without discrimination or frontiers, depository of God’s gift for all nations and open to man’s eternal vocation. Faith perceives in it the journey of the Patriarchs, sustained by the promise as they moved towards the future homeland, and that of the Hebrews, freed from slavery, as they crossed the Red Sea in the Exodus, that formed the People of the Covenant. Again, in a certain sense, faith finds in migration an exile, in which every goal reached in fact is relative. In migration faith discovers once more the universal message of the prophets, who denounce discrimination, oppression, deportation, dispersion and persecution as contrary to God’s plan. At the same time they proclaim salvation for all, witnessing even in the chaotic events and contradictions of human history, that God continues to work out his plan of salvation until all things are brought together in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10).

Migration and the History of Salvation

14. We can therefore consider the present-day phenomenon of migration a significant «sign of the times», a challenge to be discovered and utilised in our work to renew humanity and proclaim the gospel of peace.

The Holy Scriptures show us clearly what all this means. Israel traced its origins back to Abraham, who in obedience to God’s call left his home and went to a foreign land, taking with him the divine Promise that he would become the father «of a great nation» (Gn 12:1-2). Jacob, a wandering Aramaen, «went down into Egypt with a small household and lived there as an alien. But there he became a nation, great, strong and numerous» (Dt 26:5). After its long servitude in Egypt Israel received its solemn investiture as the «People of God» during its forty-year «Exodus» through the desert. The hard test of migration and deportation is therefore fundamental to the story of the chosen people in view of the salvation of all peoples: Israel knew the return from exile (cf. Is 42:6-7; 49:5). With these memories it could take new heart in its trust in God, even in the darkest moments of its history (Ps 105 [104]: 12-15; Ps 106 [105] : 45-47).With regard to the foreigner living in the country, the Law enjoins the same commandment on Israel as applies to «the children of your people» (Lv 19:18), that is, «you must … love him as yourself» (Lv 19:34).

Christ the «foreigner» and Mary, a living symbol of the emigrant

15. In the foreigner a Christian sees not simply a neighbour, but the face of Christ Himself, who was born in a manger and fled into Egypt, where he was a foreigner, summing up and repeating in His own life the basic experience of His people (cf. Mt 2:13ff). Born away from home and coming from another land (cf. Lk 2:4-7), «he came to dwell among us» (cf. Jn 1:11,14) and spent His public life on the move, going through towns and villages (cf. Lk 13:22; Mt 9:35). After His resurrection, still a foreigner and unknown, He appeared on the way to Emmaus to two of His disciples, who only recognised Him at the breaking of the bread (cf. Lk 24:35). So Christians are followers of a man on the move «who has nowhere to lay his head (Mt 8:20; Lk 9:58)»


In the same way Mary, the Mother of Jesus, can be equally well contemplated as a living symbol of the woman emigrant

9.She gave birth to her Son away from home (cf. Lk 2:1-7) and was compelled to flee to Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-14). Popular devotion is right to consider Mary as the Madonna of the Way.

The Church of Pentecost

16. Contemplating now the Church, we see that it was born from Pentecost, fulfilment of the Paschal Mystery. It was a real and symbolic meeting of peoples, which later led Paul to declare, «There is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised and the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man» (Col 3:11). For Christ in fact «has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart» (Eph 2:14).

To follow Christ means to walk behind Him and be in transit in the world because «there is no eternal city for us in this life» (Heb 13:14). The believer is always a pároikos, a temporary resident, a guest wherever he may be (cf. 1Pt 1:1; 2:11; Jn 17:14-16). This means that for Christians it is not all that important where they live geographically

10, while a sense for hospitality is natural to them. The apostles insist on this point (cf. Rm 12:13; Heb 13:2; 1Pt 4:9; 3 Jn 5), and the Pastoral Letters enjoin this particularly on the episkopos (cf. 1Tim 3:2; Tt 1:8). In the early Church, hospitality was the Christians’ response to the needs of itinerant missionaries, of religious leaders in exile or on a journey, and of poor members of various communities11.

17. Foreigners are also a visible sign and an effective reminder of that universality which is a constituent element of the Catholic Church. A vision of Isaiah announced this: «In the days to come the mountain of the temple of Yahweh shall tower above the mountains… All the nations will stream to it» (Is 2:2). In the gospel our Lord Himself prophesied that «people from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God» (Lk 13:29), and the Apocalypse sees «a huge number… from every nation, race, tribe and language» (Ap 7:9). The Church is now toiling on its way to this final goal

12; today’s migrations can remind us of this «huge number» and be seen as a call and prefiguration of the final meeting of all humanity with God and in God.

18. Migrants’ journeying can thus become a living sign of an eternal vocation, a constant stimulus to that hope which points to a future beyond this present world, inspiring the transformation of the world in love and eschatological victory. The peculiarities of migrants is an appeal for us to live again the fraternity of Pentecost, when differences are harmonised by the Spirit and charity becomes authentic in accepting one another. So the experience of migration can be the announcement of the paschal mystery, in which death and resurrection make for the creation of a new humanity in which there is no longer slave or foreigner (cf. Gal 3:28).

The Church’s care for migrants and refugees

19. The migrations of the last century represented a challenge to the pastoral care of the Church, which was organised on the basis of stable territorial parishes. Previously members of the clergy had accompanied groups setting off abroad to colonise new lands, but from the middle of the 19th century on, the pastoral care of migrants was entrusted more and more frequently to missionary Congregations


Then in 1914 the Decree Ethnografica studia

14 dealt for the first time with the question of clergy involved in the care of migrants. It stressed the responsibility of the local Church to assist immigrants and suggested that the local clergy be given specific preparation for this, linguistically, culturally and pastorally. A little later, following the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law, the Decree Magni semper of 191815 gave the Consistorial Congregation competence for matters concerning the authorisation of clergy for assistance to migrants.

Following the Second World War the migration phenomenon became even more dramatic not only as a result of the devastation caused by the conflict but also by the worsening of the phenomenon of refugees (especially from what was termed the Eastern Countries), many of whom belonged to various Eastern Catholic Churches.

Exsul Familia

20. By then the need was thus being felt for a document to bring together the heritage of previous regulations and provisions and offer an orientation for an organic pastoral care. This was wisely answered on 1st August 1952 in Pope Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia

16, which is considered the magna charta of the Church’s thought on migration. It is the first official document of the Holy See to delineate the pastoral care of migrants globally and systematically, from both the historical and canonical points of view. In the Constitution, a wide-ranging historical analysis is followed by a detailed exposition of norms. It affirmed that the primary responsibility for the pastoral care of migrants lay with the local diocesan bishop, even though the actual organisation of the matter was still laid down by the Consistorial Congregation.

The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council

21. Later on the Second Vatican Council worked out important directives for this particular pastoral work. It called on Christians in particular to be aware of the phenomenon of migration (cf. GS 65 and 66) and to realise the influence that emigration has on life. The Council reaffirmed the right to emigrate (cf. GS 65)

17, the dignity of migrants (cf. GS 66), the need to overcome inequalities in economic and social development (cf. GS 63) and to provide an answer to the authentic needs of the human person (cf. GS 84). On the other hand the Council recognised the right of the public authorities, in a particular context, to regulate the flow of migration (cf. GS 87).

The Council stated that the People of God must assure its generous contribution to the reality of emigration. It called upon the laity in particular to extend their collaboration to all sectors of society (cf. AA 10) and thus be a «neighbour» for the migrant (cf. GS 27). The Council Fathers showed special interest in those faithful who «on account of their way of life, cannot sufficiently make use of the common and ordinary pastoral care of parish priests or are quite cut off from it. Among this group are the majority of migrants, exiles and refugees, seafarers, air-travellers, gypsies, and others of this kind. Suitable pastoral methods – they went on – should also be promoted to
sustain the spiritual life of those who go to other lands for a time for the sake of recreation. Episcopal conferences, especially national ones, – they finally urged – should pay special attention to the very pressing problems concerning the above-mentioned groups. Through voluntary agreement and united efforts, they should look to and promote their spiritual care by means of suitable methods and institutions. They should also bear in mind the special rules either already laid down or to be laid down by the Apostolic See which can be wisely adapted to the circumstances of time, place, and persons»


22. The Second Vatican Council therefore marked a decisive moment for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant persons, attributing particular importance to the meaning of mobility and catholicity and that of particular Churches, to the sense of parish, and to the vision of the Church as mystery of communion. Thus the Church stands out as «a people that derives its union from the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit» (LG 4) and presents itself as such.

Welcoming the stranger, a characteristic of the early Church, thus remains a permanent feature of the Church of God. It is practically marked by the vocation to be in exile, in diaspora, dispersed among cultures and ethnic groups without ever identifying itself completely with any of these. Otherwise it would cease to be the first-fruit and sign, the leaven and prophecy of the universal Kingdom and community that welcomes every human being without preference for persons or peoples. Welcoming the stranger is thus intrinsic to the nature of the Church itself and bears witness to its fidelity to the gospel


23. Continuing the Council’s teaching and implementing it, Pope Paul VI issued his Motu proprio Pastoralis Migratorum Cura

20 (1969), promulgating the Instruction De Pastorali Migratorum Cura21. Then, in 1978, the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism, the organism then responsible for the care of migrants, addressed a circular letter to the Episcopal Conferences entitled The Church and Human Mobility22, which gave an up-to-date account of migration at that time, offering a clear interpretation and indicating pastoral applications. The document went into the topic of the welcome of migrants by the local Church and stressed the need for intra-ecclesial collaboration so as to ensure pastoral care without frontiers. Finally the document recognised and drew attention to the specific role of the lay faithful and of men and women religious.

Canonical norms

24. The new Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church, in confirmation and application of the Council’s wishes, requests parish priests to be especially attentive towards persons who are far from their own country (Can. 529, §1) and stresses the desirability and obligation whenever possible of arranging specific pastoral care for them (Can. 568). Like the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, it envisages the establishment of personal parishes (CIC Can. 518 and CCEO Can. 280, §1) as well as missions for the spiritual care of the faithful (Can. 516) and even the creation of specific pastoral figures such as episcopal vicars (Can. 476) and chaplains for migrants (Can. 568).

Again to implement the Council’s recommendations (cf. PO 10; AG 20, note 4; AG 27, note 28), the new Code also foresees the institution of other specific pastoral structures as provided for in the legislation and practice of the Church


25. The faithful of the Eastern Catholic Churches from Asia and the Middle East and from Central and Eastern Europe are now moving into western countries in large numbers. This obviously raises the question of their pastoral care, which always falls under the decisive responsibility of the Ordinary of the place where they are received. It is therefore an urgent matter to examine the pastoral and juridical consequences of the growing number of these faithful living outside their traditional territories and of the contacts being established officially or privately at various levels, both between communities as such and between single members of communities. The norms and regulations for this, which enable the Catholic Church to breathe already with two lungs

24 so to speak, is found in the CCEO25.

26. The aforementioned Code provides for the constitution of Churches sui iuris (CCEO Can. 27, 28 and 148), calls for the promotion and observance of the «rites of the Eastern Churches as patrimony of the universal Church of Christ» (Can. 39; cf. also Can. 40 and 41) and establishes precise norms concerning liturgical and disciplinary laws (Can. 150). The Code also lays the obligation on the eparch to attend to the Christian faithful «of whatever age, condition, nation or Church sui iuris they may be, whether they are permanently or only temporarily resident in the eparchy» (Can. 192, §1) and to ensure that the Christian faithful of another Church sui iuris entrusted to his care «preserve the rite of their own Church» (Can. 193, §1) if possible «by the ministry of presbyters and parish priests of the same Church sui iuris (Can. 193, §2). Finally the Code recommends that the parish should be territorial but without excluding personal parishes if required by circumstances (cf. Can. 280, §1).

The Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches also provides for the possible establishment of an exarchate, defined as «a portion of the people of God which, for special circumstances, is not erected as an eparchy and which, limited to a certain territory or determined by other criteria, is entrusted to the pastoral care of the Exarch» (CCEO Can. 311, §1).

Pastoral lines of the Magisterium

27. Not only the canonical norms, but also a careful study of the documents and directives on migration so far issued by the Church clearly brings to light certain important theological and pastoral findings that have been acquired. These are: the central position of the human person and the defence of the rights of migrants, both men and women, and their children; the ecclesial and missionary dimension of migration; the reappraisal of the apostolate of the laity; the value of cultures in the work of evangelisation; the protection and appreciation of minority groups in the Church; the importance of dialogue both inside and outside the Church; and the specific contribution of emigration to world peace. These documents also illustrate the pastoral dimension of work for migrants. In fact all should find «their homeland»

26 in the Church, for the Church is the mystery of God among men, the mystery of love shown by the Only-Begotten Son, especially in His death and resurrection, so that all «may have life, and have it to the full» (Jn 10,10), so that all may find strength to overcome every division and act in such a way that differences do not lead to rifts but communion by welcoming others in their legitimate diversity.

28. In the Church the role played by the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has been positively appraised in their specific contribution to the pastoral care of migrants

27. The responsibility of diocesan bishops in this regard is unequivocally reaffirmed, both for the Church of origin and the Church of arrival. In such responsibility the Episcopal Conferences of the various countries and the corresponding structures in the Eastern Churches are also involved. Pastoral care of migrants means welcome, respect, protection, promotion and genuine love of every person in his or her religious and cultural expressions.

29. Recent Pontifical declarations too, have emphasised and widened horizons and pastoral perspectives with regard to migration, in the line of man as the way of the Church

28. Since the pontificate of Pope Paul VI and later in that of Pope John Paul II, especially in the Messages for the World
Days of Migrants and Refugees29, repeated affirmation is made of the fundamental rights of the person, in particular the right to emigrate so that the individual can turn his abilities, aspirations and projects to better account30. (This is stated, however, in the same context with the right of every country to pursue an immigration policy that promotes the common good.) Also the right of the individual not to emigrate is affirmed, that is, the right to be able to achieve his rights and satisfy his legitimate demands in his own country31.

The Magisterium has likewise always denounced social and economic imbalances that are, for the most part, the cause of migration, the dangers of an uncontrolled globalisation in which migrants are more the victims than the protagonists of their migration, and the serious problem of irregular immigration, especially when the migrant is an object of trafficking and exploitation by criminal organisations


30. The Magisterium has also insisted on the need of policies that effectively guarantee the rights of all migrants, «carefully avoiding every possible discrimination»

33. It emphasizes a vast range of values and behaviour (hospitality, solidarity, sharing) and the need to reject all sentiments and manifestations of xenophobia and racism on the part of host communities34. In the context of both the legislation and administrative practices of various countries, it dedicates much attention to the unity of the family and the protection of minors, which is often put in danger by migration35, as well as to the formation of multicultural societies through migration.

Cultural plurality thus invites contemporary man to practise dialogue and also face basic questions such as the meaning of life and history, suffering and poverty, hunger, sickness and death. Openness to different cultural identities does not, however, mean accepting them all indiscriminately, but rather respecting them – because they are inherent in people – and, if possible, appreciating them in their diversity. The «relativity» of cultures was also stressed by the Second Vatican Council (cf. GS 54, 55, 56, 58). Plurality is a treasure, and dialogue is the as yet imperfect and ever evolving realization of that final unity to which humanity aspires and is called.

Entities of the Holy See

31. The Church’s constant concern for the religious, social and cultural care of migrants manifested by the Magisterium is likewise shown by the special entities established by the Holy See for this purpose.

The original inspiration behind them is to be found in the memorandum Pro emigratis catholicis of Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini who, aware of the difficulties that various European nationalist tendencies stirred up abroad, proposed to the Holy See a Pontifical Congregation (or Commission) for all Catholic emigrants. This Congregation should be composed of representatives of different nations for the purpose of «spiritual assistance of emigrants in varied circumstances and in various stages of the phenomemon, especially in the Americas, to thus keep the Catholic faith alive in their hearts»


Little by little his intuition took shape. In 1912, following the reform of the Roman Curia by Pope St Pius X, the first Office for Migration Problems was set up within the Consistorial Congregation, while in 1970 Pope Paul VI instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism, which, in 1988, with the Apostolic Constitution

Pastor Bonus, became the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. It was entrusted with the care of all who «have been forced to abandon their homeland, as well as those who have none»: refugees and exiles, migrants, nomads and circus people, seafarers both aboard ship and in port, all who are away from home and those working in airports or on airplanes37.

32. It is therefore the task of the Pontifical Council to stimulate, promote and animate opportune pastoral initiatives in favour of those who by choice or through necessity leave their normal place of residence, as well as to carefully follow the social, economic and cultural questions that are usually at the origin of such movements.

The Pontifical Council directly addresses Episcopal Conferences and their respective Councils, the corresponding episcopal structures in the Eastern Catholic Churches concerned, and also individual bishops and hierarchs. While respecting the responsibility of each one, it urges them to implement a specific pastoral care for persons involved in the ever growing phenomenon of human mobility and to adopt suitable provisions as called for by the changing situations.

In recent times the aspect of migration has become part of ecumenical relations too. As a result contacts with other Churches and Ecclesial Communities increase. From this perspective, attention is also given to inter-religious dialogue. Finally the Pontifical Council, through its superiors and officials, is at times present in the international arena, representing the Holy See at meetings of multilateral organisations.

33. Among the principal Catholic organisations for assistance of migrants and refugees, we cannot fail to mention the International Catholic Migration Commission established in 1951. It has great merit for the help it provided in its first fifty years to governments and international organisations, in a Christian spirit, and for its own original contribution in the search for lasting solutions for migrants and refugees all over the world. The service rendered by the Commission in the past and still done today «is bound by a two-fold fidelity: to Christ … and to the Church», as stated by Pope John Paul II

38, and its work «has been a fruitful point of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation»39.

Nor, finally, must we forget the important commitment of the various Caritas organisations and other similar organisms of charity and solidarity in the service of migrants and refugees.


Migrants and the Pastoral Care of Welcome

Inculturation, cultural and religious pluralism

34. The Church, sacrament of unity, overcomes ideological or racial barriers and divisions and proclaims to all people and all cultures the need to strive for the truth in the perspective of correctly facing differences by dialogue and mutual acceptance. Different cultural identities are thus to open up to a universal way of understanding, not abandoning their own positive elements but putting them at the service of the whole of humanity. While this logic engages every particular Church, it highlights and reveals that unity in diversity that is contemplated in the Trinity, which, for its part, refers the communion of all to the fullness of the personal life of each one.

The cultural situation today, global and dynamic as it is, calls for the incarnation of the one faith in many cultures and thus represents an unprecedented challenge, a true kairòs for the whole People of God (cf. EEu 58).

35. We are therefore face to face with a cultural and religious pluralism never perhaps experienced so consciously before. On the one hand, rapid progress is being made towards a world-wide openness, facilitated by technological means and the media, with the result that cultural and religious backgrounds, traditionally different and foreign to one another, are being brought into contact and even mingled with one another. On the other, fresh demands for a local identity emerge, which consider the cultural traits of each individual the means for self-realisation.

36. This fluidity of cultures makes «inculturation» even more indispensable, as it is not possible to evangelise without entering into serious dialogue with cultures. Together with peoples of different roots, other values and models of life are knocking at our doors. While each culture tends to interpret the gospel in terms of its own way of life, it
is the task of the Magisterium of the Church to guide these attempts and judge their validity.

«Inculturation» begins by listening, which means getting to know those to whom we proclaim the gospel. Listening and knowing lead to a more adequate discernment of the values and «countervalues» of their cultures in the light of the Paschal Mystery of death and life. Tolerance is not enough; needed is a certain feeling for the other, respect as far as possible for the cultural identity of one’s dialogue partners. To recognise and appreciate their positive aspects, which prepare them to accept the gospel, is a necessary prelude to its successful proclamation. This is the only way to create dialogue, understanding and trust. Keeping our eyes on the gospel thus means attention to people too, to their dignity and freedom. Helping them advance integrally requires a commitment to fraternity, solidarity, service and justice. The love of God, while it gives humankind the truth and shows everyone his highest vocation, also promotes his dignity and gives birth to community, based on the gospel proclamation being welcomed, interiorised, celebrated and lived


The Church of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council

37. In the vision of the Second Vatican Council there are three fundamental ways in which the Church carries out its pastoral ministry:

§ Being communion, the Church values the legitimate specific characteristics of Catholic communities, joining them together with a universal vision. In fact the unity of Pentecost does not abolish the various languages and cultures but recognises them in their identities, at the same time opening them to other realities through the universal love at work in them. The one Catholic Church is thus constituted by and in the particular Churches, just as the particular Churches are constituted in and by the universal Church (cf. LG 13)


§ Being missionary, the Church’s ministry is outward looking, passing on its own treasures to others and being enriched with new gifts and values. This missionary quality is at work inside each particular Church because mission is, in the first place, radiating the glory of God, and the Church needs «to hear the proclamation of the ‘mighty works of God’ … to be called together afresh by Him and reunited» (EN 15).

§ Being the People and family of God, mystery, sacrament, Mystical Body and Temple of the Spirit, the Church becomes the history of a people on the move. Its starting point is the mystery of Christ and the vicissitudes of the individual and groups of which it is composed, and from this it is called to fashion a new history, gift of God and fruit of human freedom. In the Church, therefore, migrants too are called to be protagonists of this together with all the People of God as pilgrim on earth (cf. RMi 32, 49 and 71).

38. From a concrete point of view the specific pastoral choices to be taken for the welcome of migrants can be delineated as follows:

§ pastoral care of a particular ethnic or ritual group, aimed at promoting a genuinely Catholic spirit (cf. LG 13);

§ need to safeguard universality and unity, which cannot, however, clash at the same time with the specific pastoral care that, if possible, entrusts migrants to presbyters of the same language, of their own Church sui iuris, or to presbyters who are close to them from a linguistic and cultural point of view (cf. DPMC 11);

§ great importance of the migrants’ mother tongue, in which they express their mentality, thought and culture, and the characteristics of their spiritual life and the traditions of their Church of origin (cf. DPMC 11).

This specific pastoral work operates in the context of a phenomenon which, by bringing together persons of different nationalities, ethnic origins and religions into contact, contributes to making the true face of the Church visible (cf. GS 92) and brings out the value of migrations from the point of view of ecumenism and missionary work and dialogue

42. In fact it is through migration that God’s saving plan will be effected (cf. Acts 11, 19-21)43. To this end it is necessary to deepen the Christian life of migrants, which should be brought to maturity by means of an evangelizing and catechising type of apostolate (cf. CD 13-14 and DPMC 4).

This missionary-dialogical task pertains to all members of the mystical Body, which migrants themselves must carry out in the threefold function of Christ as Prophet, Priest and King. It will thus be necessary to build up the Church and make it grow in and with the migrants, to rediscover together and reveal Christian values and form an authentic sacramental community of faith, worship, love

44 and hope.

The particular situation of chaplains, missionaries and lay pastoral workers with regard to the hierarchy and the local clergy means that they must be well aware of the necessity to carry out their ministry in close union with the diocesan bishop, or with the hierarch, and his clergy (cf. CD 28-29; AA 10 and PO 7). Moreover the difficulty and importance of achieving certain aims both on the individual and the community level will act as a stimulus for migrants’ chaplains and missionaries to seek the broadest possible and correct collaboration of both men and women religious (cf. DPMC 52-55) and of the lay faithful (cf. DPMC 56-61)


Welcome and solidarity

39. Migration therefore touches the religious dimension of man too and offers Catholic migrants a privileged though often painful opportunity to reach a sense of belonging to the universal Church which goes beyond any local particularity. To this end it is important that communities do not think that they have completed their duty to migrants simply by performing acts of fraternal assistance or even by supporting legislation aimed at giving them their due place in society while respecting their identity as foreigners. Christians must in fact promote an authentic culture of welcome (cf. EEu 101 and 103) capable of accepting the truly human values of the immigrants over and above any difficulties caused by living together with persons who are different (cf. EEu 85, 112 and PaG 65).

40. Christians will accomplish all this by means of a truly fraternal welcome in the sense of St Paul’s admonition, «Welcome one another then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God» (Rm 15:7)


Certainly the appeal alone, however nobly inspired and heartfelt, does not provide an automatic and practical reply to the pressing issues of every day. It does not, for example, eliminate a widespread fear or feeling of insecurity in people, neither does it guarantee due respect for legality nor safeguard the integrity of the host community. But a genuinely Christian spirit will give the right approach and courage to face these problems and suggest the practical means by which we are called to resolve them in the day-to-day life of our Christian communities (cf. EEu 85 and 111).

41. For this reason the entire Church in the host country must feel concerned and engaged regarding immigrants. This means that local Churches must rethink pastoral care, programming it to help the faithful live their faith authentically in today’s new multicultural and pluri-religious context

47. With the help of social and pastoral workers, the local population should be made aware of the complex problems of migration and the need to oppose baseless suspicions and offensive prejudices against foreigners.

In religious instruction and catechesis suitable means must be found to create in the Christian conscience a sense of welcome, especially for the poorest and outcasts as migrants often are. This welcome is fully based on love for Christ, in the certainty that good done out of love o
f God to one’s neighbour, especially the most needy, is done to Him. This catechesis cannot avoid referring to the serious problems that precede and accompany migration, such as the demographic question, work and working conditions (illegal work), the care of the numerous elderly persons, criminality, the exploitation of migrants and trafficking and smuggling of human beings. 42. In welcoming migrants it is of course useful and correct to distinguish between assistance in a general sense (a first, short-term welcome), true welcome in the full sense (longer-term projects) and integration (an aim to be pursued constantly over a long period and in the true sense of the word).

Pastoral workers with competence in cultural mediation – and our Catholic communities too should ensure that they have such people – are called upon to help bridge the legitimate requirements of order, legality and social security with the Christian vocation to welcome others with practical expressions of love. It will also be important to ensure that all realise the benefits – not only economic – that industrialised countries derive from a regulated inflow of immigrants and at the same time become more and more aware that their need for manpower is being answered by human beings: men, women and whole families with children and elderly persons.

43. Nevertheless assistance or «first welcome» are of the greatest importance (let us think, for example, of migrants’ hospitality centres, especially in transit countries) in response to the emergencies that come with migrations: canteens, dormitories, clinics, economic aid, reception centres. But also important are acts of welcome in its full sense, which aim at the progressive integration and self-sufficiency of the immigrant. Let us remember in particular the commitment undertaken for family unification, education of children, housing, work, associations, promotion of civil rights and migrants’ various ways of participation in their host society. Religious, social, charitable and cultural associations of Christian inspiration should also make efforts to involve immigrants themselves in their structures.

Liturgy and popular piety

44. The ecclesiological foundation of the pastoral care of migrants will also help give shape to a liturgy that is more sensitive to the historical and anthropological aspects of migration, so that liturgical celebrations become a living expression of communities of believers who walk hic et nunc on the ways of salvation.

This raises the question of the relation of liturgy with the character, tradition and genius of different cultural groups and how to respond to the particular social and cultural situation of such groups by pastoral care that should consider their specific liturgical formation and ways of making liturgy more lively (cf. SC 23) and also promote the wider participation of the faithful in the particular Church (cf. EEu 69-72 and 78-80).

45. Owing also to the shortage of their numbers, presbyters should make the most of the lay faithful in non-ordained ministries. Where no presbyters are available, the possibility should be considered of organising so-called Sunday assemblies without a presbyter in immigrant communities too (cf. CIC Can. 1248, §2), where prayers are said, the Word proclaimed and the Eucharist distributed (cf. PaG 37) under the direction of a deacon or of a layperson duly authorised for this

48. The shortage of priests for migrants can be partly remedied by entrusting certain activities in the parish to suitably prepared laymen in conformity with the CIC (cf. Can. 228, §1; 230, §3 and 517, §2).

In all this the general norms will be observed as laid down by the Holy See and recalled in the Apostolic Letter

Dies Domini, which states: «When it is impossible to celebrate the Eucharist, the Church recommends the holding of Sunday assemblies in the absence of a priest in accordance with the indications and directives of the Holy See whose application is entrusted to the Episcopal Conferences»49.

In this connection, presbyters will do all they can to make the People of God aware of the need in every particular Church of authentic vocations to the priesthood and to promote intense vocation ministry in this regard among immigrants too (EEu 31-32 and PaG 53-54).

46. Popular piety, too, deserves particular attention

50 as it is characteristic of many migrant communities. Besides recognising that «when it is well oriented, above all by a pedagogy of evangelisation, it is rich in values» (EN 48), we must also bear in mind that for many migrants it is a fundamental link with their Church of origin and with their ways of understanding and living the faith. Here it is a question of putting into action an in-depth work of evangelisation and of enabling the local Catholic community to know and appreciate certain forms of devotion of migrants and thus to understand them. From this union of spirit a more participated liturgy can also develop, one that is better integrated and spiritually richer.

The same may be said concerning links with the various Eastern Catholic Churches. The sacred liturgy celebrated in the rite of their own Church sui iuris is important as a safeguard of the spiritual identity of Catholic migrants of the East as is also the use of their languages in religious worship


47. Pastoral care has furthermore to give ample space, always in a liturgical perspective, for the particular condition of life of migrants, to the family, the «household Church», to common prayer, to family Bible groups, and to the family’s response to the liturgical year (cf. EEu 78). The family blessings proposed in the Book of Blessings also deserve due attention


Today we are also witnessing a renewed commitment to involve families in preparing for the reception of the sacraments, which can bring fresh vitality to Christian communities. Through this, in fact, many young persons (cf. PaG 53) and adults are rediscovering the meaning and the value of ways that help give new strength to their faith and Christian life.

48. A particular danger to the faith comes from today’s religious pluralism, in the sense of relativism and syncretism in religious matters. To combat this danger it is necessary to prepare new pastoral initiatives that are capable of confronting this phenomenon which, together with the proliferation of sects

53, is one of the most serious pastoral problems of today.

Catholic migrants

49. With regard to Catholic migrants the Church makes provision for a specific kind of pastoral care because of diversity of language, origin, culture, ethnicity and tradition, or of belonging to a particular Church sui iuris with its own rite. In fact, these factors often hinder a full and speedy insertion of immigrants into local territorial parishes, or it may be necessary to bear them in mind with the prospect of erecting parishes or a hierarchy for the faithful belonging to particular Churches <i>sui iuris. The uprooting that moving abroad inevitably involves (from country of origin, family, language etc.) should not be made worse by uprooting the migrant from his religious rite or identity too.

50. When groups of immigrants are particularly numerous and homogeneous therefore, they are encouraged to keep up their specific Catholic traditions. In particular, efforts must be made to provide organised religious assistance by priests of the language, culture and rite of the migrants selecting the most suitable juridical option from among those foreseen by the CIC and the CCEO.

In any case it is not possible to over-emphasise the need for the closest communion between language-based missions and territorial parishes. It is also important to work for mutual knowledge, making use of all opportunities offered by ordinary pastoral wo
rk also to involve immigrants in the life of the parishes (cf. EEu 28).

In case immigrants are too few in number for a specific organised religious assistance, the particular Church where they have arrived should help them overcome the problems caused by uprooting from their community of origin and the serious difficulties of finding their place in their new one. Where immigrants are not significant in number, catechism and liturgical formation by religious and lay pastoral workers in close collaboration with chaplains/missionaries will prove to be particularly valuable (cf. EEu 51, 73 and also PaG 51).

51. Mention should also be made of the need to provide specific pastoral assistance for technicians, professional workers and foreign students temporarily resident in countries where the majority of the population is Muslim or of another faith. If left to themselves without any spiritual guide, these temporary migrants, instead of bearing Christian witness, may be the cause of erroneous judgments about Christianity. In saying this, we fully acknowledge the beneficial influence of thousands and thousands of Christians who do bear faithful witness in these countries, or of the return to their original homes, where Christians are in the minority, by former migrants of other religions who have been living in dominantly Catholic regions.

Eastern Rite Catholic migrants

52. Eastern Rite Catholic migrants, whose numbers are steadily increasing, deserve particular pastoral attention. In their regard we should first of all remember the juridical obligation of the faithful to observe their own rite everywhere insofar as possible, rite being understood as their liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritage (cf. CCEO Can. 28, §1 and PaG 72).

This means that «even though entrusted to the care of a hierarch or pastor of another Church sui iuris, they still remain inscribed as members of their own Church sui iuris» (CCEO Can. 38). Indeed even a prolonged practice of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of another Church sui iuris does not mean that they become members of that Church (cf. CIC Can. 112, §2). It is in fact forbidden «to change rites without the consent of the Apostolic See» (cf. CCEO Can. 32 and CIC Can. 112, §1).

Notwithstanding their right and duty to observe their own rite Eastern Catholic migrants also have the right to participate actively in the liturgical celebrations of any other Church sui iuris, including the Latin Church, in accordance with the prescriptions of its liturgical books (cf. CCEO Can. 403, §1).

Moreover the hierarchy must take care that those who have frequent contacts with the faithful of another rite should know that rite and respect it (cf. CCEO Can. 41). It will also be vigilant that no one should feel restricted in his freedom because of language or rite (cf. CCEO Can. 588).

53. In this line the Second Vatican Council (CD 23) decreed: «Where there are faithful of a different rite, the diocesan bishop should provide for their spiritual needs either through priests or parishes of that rite or through an episcopal vicar endowed with the necessary faculties. Wherever it is fitting, the last named should also have episcopal rank. Otherwise the Ordinary himself may perform the office of an Ordinary of different rites». Moreover «one or more episcopal vicars can be named by the bishop. These automatically enjoy the same authority which the common law grants the vicar general … for the faithful of a determined rite» (CD 27).

54. In conformity with the Council’s decree, the CIC (Can. 383, §2) lays down that if the diocesan bishop «has faithful of a different rite in his diocese, he is to provide for their spiritual needs either through priests or parishes of the same rite or through an episcopal vicar». The latter, in accordance with Can. 476 of the CIC, «posses[es] the same ordinary power which a vicar general has by universal law» regarding his relation with the faithful of a particular rite. After enunciating the principle of the territorial nature of a parish, the CIC (Can. 518) lays down in fact that «when it is expedient personal parishes are to be established, determined by reason of the rite».

55. Whenever this is done, these parishes will juridically form an integral part of the Latin diocese, and the parish priests of the aforementioned rite will be members of the diocesan presbyterate of the Latin bishop. It should, however, be noted that although in the hypothesis foreseen in the above mentioned canons these faithful are living within the jurisdiction of the Latin bishop, it is opportune that before instituting personal parishes for them or designating a presbyter as assistant or parish priest or indeed episcopal vicar, the Latin bishop should take up contact both with the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and with the respective hierarchy, in particular with the Patriarch.

It should be recalled here that the CCEO (Can. 193, §3) lays down that when eparchs «constitute this kind of presbyter or parish priest or syncelli for the pastoral care of the Christians faithful of the patriarchal Churches», they should «take up contact with the relevant Patriarchs and, if they agree, should then act on their own authority, informing the Apostolic See about this as soon as possible; if, however, for any reason the Patriarchs do not agree, then the matter must be referred to the Apostolic See»

54. Although there is no explicit regulation corresponding to this in the CIC, it should nevertheless by analogy apply to Latin diocesan bishops too.

Migrants of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities

56. The growing number of Christian immigrants not in full communion with the Catholic Church offers particular Churches new possibilities of living ecumenical fraternity in practical day-to-day life and of achieving greater reciprocal understanding between Churches and ecclesial communities, something far from facile irenicism or proselytism. What is called for is a spirit of apostolic charity that, on the one hand respects other people’s consciences and recognises the good it discovers in them, but which can wait for the moment to become an instrument for a deeper encounter between Christ and a brother. The Catholic faithful must not in fact forget that it is also a service and a sign of great love to welcome our brothers into full communion with the Church. In any case, however, «If priests, ministers or communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects needed for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may allow them to use a church or a Catholic building and also lend them whatever may be necessary for their services. In similar circumstances permission may be given them for interment or for celebration of services at Catholic cemeteries»


57. Another matter to be remembered is that in certain circumstances it is legitimate for non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist together with Catholics, as confirmed also by the recent encyclical

Ecclesia de Eucharistia. Thus «While it is never legitimate to concelebrate in the absence of full communion, the same is not true with respect to the administration of the Eucharist under special circumstances, to individual persons belonging to Churches or Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church. In this case, in fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation of an individual believer, not to bring about an intercommunion which remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are fully re-established. This was the approach taken by the Second Vatican Council when it gave guidelines for responding to Eastern Christians separated in good faith from
the Catholic Church, who spontaneously ask to receive the Eucharist from a Catholic minister and are properly disposed [see OE 27]. This approach was then ratified by both Codes, which also consider – with necessary modifications – the case of other non-Eastern Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church (cf. CIC Can. 844, §§3-4 and CCEO Can. 671, §§3-4)»56.

58. At all events, there is to be particular reciprocal respect for the regulations of both sides as is made clear by the

Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism: «Catholics ought to show a sincere respect for the liturgical and sacramental discipline of other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and these … are asked to show the same respect for Catholic discipline»57.

In the case of migrants, these provisions and the «ecumenism of daily life» (PaG 64) cannot fail to have beneficial effects. Particular moments for ecumenical commitment could be the major liturgical feasts of the different denominations, the traditional World Days of Prayer for Peace, of Migrants and Refugees and the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Migrants of other religions, in general

59. Recent times have witnessed a growing increase in the presence of immigrants of other religions in traditionally Christian countries. Various pronouncements by the Magisterium, and in particular the encyclical

Redemptoris Missio58 as also the Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation59, provide clear guidance on this question.

In the case of non-Christian immigrants, the Church is also concerned with their human development and with the witness of Christian charity, which itself has an evangelising value that may open hearts for the explicit proclamation of the gospel when this is done with due Christian prudence and full respect for the freedom of the other. In any case the migrant of another religion should be helped insofar as possible to preserve a transcendent view of life.

The Church is thus called upon to open a dialogue with these immigrants, and this «dialogue should be conducted and implemented in the conviction that the Church is the ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the fullness of the means of salvation» (RMi 55; cf. also PaG 68).

60. This requires Catholic communities receiving immigrants to appreciate their own identity even more, prove their loyalty to Christ, know the contents of the faith well, rediscover their missionary calling and thus commit themselves to bear witness for Jesus the Lord and His gospel. This is the necessary prerequisite for the correct attitude of sincere dialogue, open and respectful of all but at the same time neither naivenor ill-equipped (cf. PaG 64 and 68).

It is the Christians’ task in particular to help immigrants find their place in the social and cultural context of their host country by accepting its civil laws (PaG 72). Above all, however, Christians are called upon with the witness of their lives to denounce certain negative aspects present in the rich industrialised countries (materialism and consumerism, moral relativism and religious indifferentism), which might shake the religious convictions of immigrants.

We hope that this commitment with regard to immigrants will not just be practised by individual Christians alone or by traditional aid organisations but may also be included in the overall programmes of ecclesial movements and lay associations of the faithful (cf. CfL 29).

Four matters calling for particular attention

61. To avoid misunderstandings and confusion, and considering the religious diversity that we mutually recognise, and out of respect for sacred places and the religion of the other too, we do not consider it opportune for Christian churches, chapels, places of worship or other places reserved for evangelisation and pastoral work to be made available for members of non-Christian religions. Still less should they be used to obtain recognition of demands made on the public authorities. On the other hand spaces for social use, for free-time activities, games and relaxation and the like, could and should be opened to persons of other religions, respecting the rules followed in these places. The social contacts made there would be an opportunity to favour the integration of the new arrivals and prepare cultural mediators capable of helping overcome cultural and religious barriers by promoting adequate reciprocal knowledge.

62. Catholic schools (cf. EEu 59 and PaG 52) must not renounce their own characteristics and Christian-oriented educational programmes when immigrants’ children of another religion are accepted

60. Parents wishing to enrol their children should be clearly informed of this. At the same time no pupil must be compelled to take part in a Catholic liturgy or to perform actions contrary to his or her religious convictions.

Moreover religious instruction provided for in the school curriculum, if given with a scholastic character, may be useful to help pupils learn about a faith different from their own. In religious instruction, however, all must be educated to respect persons of different religious convictions but relativism must be avoided.

63. With regard to marriage between Catholics and non-Christian migrants, this should be discouraged, though to a varying degree, depending on the religion of each partner, with exceptions in special cases in accordance with the norms of the CIC and CCEO. It should in fact be remembered that, in the words of Pope John Paul II, «In families where both parents are Catholic, it is easier for them to share their common faith with their children. While acknowledging with gratitude interfaith marriages which succeeded in nourishing the faith of both spouses and children, the Synod encourages pastoral efforts to promote marriages between people of the same faith»


64. Finally, in relations between Christians and persons of other religions, the principle of reciprocity is important. It is to be understood not merely as an attitude for making claims but as a relationship based on mutual respect and on justice in juridical and religious matters. Reciprocity is also an attitude of heart and spirit that enables us to live together everywhere with equal rights and duties. Healthy reciprocity will urge each one to become an «advocate» for the rights of minorities when his or her own religious community is in the majority. In this respect we should also recall the numerous Christian migrants in lands where the majority of the population is not Christian and where the right to religious freedom is severely restricted or repressed.

Muslim migrants

65. Today, especially in certain countries, there is a high or growing percentage of Muslim immigrants, for whom this Pontifical Council also expresses its solicitude.

In this regard the Second Vatican Council indicates the attitude to be adopted in the spirit of the gospel, calling for a purification of memory regarding past misunderstandings, to cultivate common values and to clarify and respect diversity, but without renouncing Christian principles

62. Catholic communities are therefore called upon to practise discernment. It is a question of distinguishing between what can be and cannot be shared in the religious doctrines and practices and in the moral laws of Islam.

66. Belief in God the Creator and the Merciful, daily prayer, fasting, alms-giving, pilgrimage, asceticism to dominate the passions, and the fight against injustice and oppression are common values to be found in Christianity too, though they may be expressed or manifested in a different manner. Beside these points of agreement there are, however, also divergences, some of which have to do with legitimate acquisitions of modern life and thought. Thinking in particular of human rights, we hope t
hat there will be, on the part of our Muslim brothers and sisters, a growing awareness that fundamental liberties, the inviolable rights of the person, the equal dignity of man and woman, the democratic principle of government and the healthy lay character of the State are principles that cannot be surrendered. It will likewise be necessary to reach harmony between the vision of faith and the just autonomy of creation


67. When, for example, a Catholic woman and a Muslim wish to marry, bearing in mind what is stated in No. 63 and local pastoral judgements, bitter experience teaches us that a particularly careful and in-depth preparation is called for. During it the two fiancés will be helped to know and consciously «assume» the profound cultural and religious differences they will have to face, both between themselves and in relation to their respective families and the Muslim’s original environment, to which they may possibly return after a period spent abroad.

If the marriage is registered with a consulate of the Islamic country of origin, the Catholic party must beware of reciting or signing documents containing the shahada (profession of the Muslim belief).

In any case, the marriage between a Catholic and a Muslim, if celebrated in spite of all this, requires not only canonical dispensation but also the support of the Catholic community both before and after the marriage. One of the most important tasks of Catholic associations, volunteer workers and counselling services will be to help these families educate their children and, if need be, to support the least protected member of the Muslim family, that is the woman, to know and insist on her rights.

68. Finally as regards the baptism of the children, it is well known that the norms of the two religions are in stark contrast. The problem must therefore be raised with absolute clarity during the preparation for marriage, and the Catholic party must take a firm stand on what the Church requires. Conversion and the request for baptism by adult Muslims also require very careful attention, both because of the particular nature of the Muslim religion and the consequences that follow from this.

Interreligious dialogue

69. Societies today are more and more mixed as regards religion owing in part to migration. They thus require of Catholics a convinced willingness for true interreligious dialogue (cf. PaG 68). To this end both the ordinary Catholic faithful and pastoral workers in local Churches should receive solid formation and information on other religions so as to overcome prejudices, prevail over religious relativism and avoid unjustified suspicions and fears that hamper dialogue and erect barriers, even provoking violence or misunderstanding. Local Churches will take care to include such formation in the educational programmes of their seminaries, schools and parishes.

Dialogue among different religions must not, however, be understood as just looking for points in common so as to build peace together but above all as an occasion to rediscover convictions shared in each community. These include prayer, fasting, man’s fundamental vocation, openness to the Transcendent, the adoration of God and solidarity between nations


Nevertheless we ourselves must never renounce the proclamation – either explicit or implicit according to circumstances – of salvation in Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. The whole work of the Church moves in this direction in such a way that neither fraternal dialogue nor the exchange and sharing of «human» values can diminish the Church’s commitment to evangelisation (cf. RMi 10-11 and PaG 30).


Workers in a Pastoral Care of Communion

In the home and the host Churches

70. To ensure that the pastoral care of migrants may be one of communion (that is, born from an ecclesiology of communion and serving a spirituality of communion), it is essential that the Churches of departure and arrival establish an intense collaboration with one another. This begins first in the reciprocal exchange of information on matters of common pastoral interest. It is unthinkable that these Churches should fail to dialogue with one another and systematically discuss, even in periodic meetings, problems concerning thousands of migrants. Then for the better co-ordination of all pastoral activity in favour of immigrants, Episcopal Conferences should entrust it to a special Commission, with the appointment of a National Director to animate the corresponding diocesan commissions. When it is not possible to set up such a Commission, a Bishop Promoter should at least be entrusted with the co-ordination of the pastoral care of migrants. In this way spiritual assistance for persons far from their home country will appear as a clear ecclesial commitment, a pastoral task that cannot simply be left to the generosity of individuals, presbyters, religious men or women, or lay faithful but sustained, even materially, by the local Churches (cf. also PaG 45).

71. Episcopal Conferences will likewise entrust to Catholic university faculties in their territories the task of studying the various aspects of migration more thoroughly for the benefit of concrete pastoral service for migrants. Compulsory courses of theological specialisation could also be programmed for this purpose.

In seminaries too, formation cannot now fail to take into account the world-wide phenomenon of migration. «Seminaries and Institutes of Higher Studies, in adapting their own curricula and methods, will enable their students to become acquainted with the various types of emigration (permanent or seasonal, international or internal), the reasons for which people move, the consequences of such mobility, the general outlines for adequate pastoral care in this field, the Pontifical Documents on the subject and also those of the local Churches»


In any event «the Quaderni universitari of the Pontifical Council [then Commission] for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and its magazine ‘[People] on the move’, together with other documents of the Magisterium published recently, will prove useful when initiating the teaching on emigration»


Finally the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation,

Pastores dabo vobis, explicitly requires that the pastoral experience of seminarians should also be orientated towards nomads and migrants67.

72. The celebration of the World Day (or Week) of Migrants and Refugees will also be the occasion for a growing sense of urgency in commitment and for paying zealous attention to the specific topic proposed each year by the Supreme Pontiff in his

Message. This Pontifical Council proposes that this day should be celebrated everywhere on one fixed date so as to help all to live together – at one and the same time – in the sight of God a day of prayer, action and sacrifice for the cause of migrants and refugees.

In addition to the World Day, an annual meeting of the bishop/eparch, possibly in his Cathedral, with all the ethnic groups present in the diocese/eparchy could prove to be of great significance. In some places where this event is already held, it is known as the «festival of peoples».

The national co-ordinator for chaplains/missionaries

73. Among the pastoral workers in the service of the migrant, the National Co-ordinator is particularly important. He is meant to be a help more for the chaplains/missionaries of a certain language or country than for the migrants themselves. Likewise he is an expression of the Church ad quam in favour of the chaplains/missionaries themselves though he is not considered to be their representative. He is at the service of the chaplains/missionaries who receive the «declaration of suitability» – that is the rescript given by the Episcopal Conference a qua (cf. DPMC 36, 2) – in countries with a large number
of immigrants coming from the same nation.

74. The activity of the National Co-ordinator towards the chaplains/missionaries is to exercise fraternal vigilance, to moderate and to act as a link between the various communities. He has no direct competence, however, over the migrants who, by reason of their domicile or semi-domicile, are subject to the jurisdiction of the ordinaries or hierarchs of the particular Churches or eparchies. He does not have jurisdiction over the chaplains/missionaries who, regarding the faculties and exercise of their ministry, are subject to the local ordinary, from whom they receive the relative faculties. The National Co-ordinator must therefore work in close contact with the national and diocesan directors of pastoral work for migrants.

The migrants’ chaplain/missionary

75. On the basis of previous Church documents dealing with this subject

68, we would here stress above all the necessity of special preparation for specific pastoral work among migrants (cf. PaG 72), which entails an authentically missionary dimension and is eminently spiritual in purpose. Such a preparation is carried out in communion with and under the responsibility also of the local ordinary/hierarch of the country of origin.

76. In this connection it is to be noted that «the complexity and continuing evolution which are to be observed in the phenomenon of people on the move make necessary, in order to give direction and purpose to the pastoral activity, the work of complementary institutions, designed to keep track of this phenomenon and aim atan objective evaluation of it. This means pastoral centres for ethnic groups but above all interdisciplinary study centres, that is, ones which would collate the material necessary for the working out and putting into practise a pastoral strategy» (CMU 40). This research should also be useful as a guide for studies in seminaries, institutes of formation and pastoral centres and should be directly utilisable for the preparation of pastoral workers dealing with migration.

77. To be a chaplain/missionary for migrants eiusdem sermonis (of the same language) does not, however, mean to remain prisoner to one exclusive, national way of living and expressing the faith. If on the one hand we must emphasise the need for specific pastoral care based on the necessity to transmit the Christian message by cultural means that correspond to the formation and just requirements of the persons it is aimed at, on the other it is equally important to reaffirm that such specific pastoral care also requires openness to a new world and a sincere effort to find one’s place in it, the final goal being the full participation of the migrants in the life of the diocese. In this process the chaplain/missionary must be a bridge, linking the community of migrants to the host community. He is with them to build the Church, in communion first of all with the diocesan bishop/eparch and with his brothers in the priesthood, in particular with the parish priests who have the same pastoral work to perform (cf. DPMC 30, 3). To do this he needs to know and appreciate the culture of the place where he is called to perform his ministry, speak its language, be able to dialogue with the society he lives in and teach esteem and respect for the host country, even to the point of loving and defending it. So even though the migrants’ chaplain/missionary makes use of ethnic or linguistic considerations as the basis in exercising his ministry, he knows well that the pastoral care of migrants must also result in building up a Church that aims at being ecumenical and missionary (cf. RMi 10-11; DPMC 30, 2).

78. Those responsible for pastoral work among migrants should thus have a certain expertise in intercultural communication. The same also applies to those responsible for pastoral care on the local level since those coming from abroad cannot effect such cultural mediation on their own.

The principal tasks of the pastoral worker among immigrants are, above all, thus:

· safeguarding the migrants’ ethnic, cultural, linguistic and ritual identity since effective pastoral activity is unthinkable if it does not respect and value their cultural heritage, which, however, must also be brought into dialogue with the local Church and culture so as to respond to new demands;

· guidance on the way to authentic integration, avoiding a cultural ghetto and at the same time opposing the pure and simple assimilation of migrants into the local culture;

· incarnating a missionary and evangelising spirit, by sharing the situation and conditions of migrants, with the ability to adapt and make personal contacts in an atmosphere of a clear witness of life.

Diocesan/eparchial presbyters as chaplains/missionaries

79. Chaplains/missionaries may be diocesan/eparchial presbyters (who normally remain incardinated in their own diocese/eparchy and go abroad temporarily to care for migrants) or religious presbyters. Both however, whether diocesan/eparchial or religious, take on the same mission, though their initial vocations may be different and complementary.

Diocesan/eparchial presbyters, exercising pastoral care in a diocese/eparchy where they are not incardinated are nevertheless integrated into it so that they form part of the diocesan/eparchial presbytery to all effects

69. The same applies to religions presbyters. It cannot therefore be too strongly stressed that chaplains/missionaries remain united in fraternal harmony not only with the local ordinary/eparch, but also with the diocesan/eparchial clergy, especially with the parish priests. For that purpose, participation in priest’s meetings and those of the diocese/eparchy can be helpful, together with efforts to be present in gatherings for study of social, moral, liturgical and pastoral issues. These are a condition sine qua non for putting an authentic pastoral care into practice with mutual co-operation, solidarity and co-responsibility (cf. DPMC 42). It must also be an operative unity so as to be effective between migrants and the local population too. This kind of solidarity, in intention and in practice, will be an excellent example of adaptation and collaboration, and in this way mutual knowledge and respect of the cultural heritages of each one will be achieved.

Religious presbyters, brothers and sisters working among migrants

80. Religious presbyters, brothers and sisters have always played a primary role in pastoral work for migrants, and the Church has shown and continues to show great confidence in what they do. The Christian community recognises the vocation to the religious life as a special gift of the Spirit, which the Church welcomes, guards and interprets so as to make it grow and develop in accordance with its own dynamism

70. The same Spirit in the course of history has also brought into being institutes whose specific goal is the apostolate to migrants71, each having its own organisation.

In this connection we feel duty-bound to remember the apostolate of religious women, so often dedicated to the pastoral care of migrants, with specific charisms and performing works of great pastoral importance. We would recall in particular the words of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation

Vita consecrata: «Likewise the future of re-evangelisation, as of all other forms of missionary activity, is unthinkable without a renewed contribution from women, especially consecrated women» (no. 57). Also: «It is therefore urgently necessary to take certain concrete steps, beginning by providing room for women to participate in different fields and at all levels, including decision-making processes, above all in matters which concern women themselves»72.

81. In addition to these religious institutes for the pastoral care of migrants, there are also others which, although it is not their specific charism, are cordially invited to take part in th
is responsibility. In fact «it will always be opportune and praiseworthy for them to devote themselves to the spiritual care of this category of the faithful, choosing especially those activities that best correspond to their nature and aims» (DPMC 53, 2). This is the practical application of one of the Council’s directives, because «in view of the urgent need of souls and the scarcity of diocesan clergy, Religious communities which are not dedicated exclusively to the contemplative life can be called upon by the bishops to assist in various pastoral ministries. They should, however, keep in mind the particular character of each community. Superiors should encourage this work to the utmost, by accepting parishes, even on a temporary basis» (CD 35).

82. But if all religious institutes are called upon to keep in mind human mobility in their pastoral work, then they should give generous consideration to the possibility of sending some of their own members, men or women, to work in the field of migration. Many of them in fact could make an appreciable contribution to the spiritual care of migrants because they have members with different types of formation, coming from various countries, whom it would be relatively simple to transfer abroad.

It is particularly in the field of migration that the role attributed to religious institutes in the Apostolic Exhortation

Evangelii nuntiandi stands out clearly. In fact «by their lives they are sign of total availability to God, the Church and the brethren. As such they have a special importance in the context of the witness which … is of prime importance in evangelisation. At the same time as being a challenge to the world and to the Church herself, this silent witness of poverty and abnegation, of purity and sincerity, of self-sacrifice in obedience, can become an eloquent witness capable of touching also non-Christians who have good will and are sensitive to certain values» (EN 69).

83. This need for pastoral attention is emphasised in the Instruction of 25th March 1987 dealing with pastoral commitment for migrants and refugees, published jointly by the Congregation for the Religious and Secular Institutes and the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism and addressed to all men and women superiors general. This appeal to religious institutes for a particular commitment in favour of migrants and refugees is deeply motivated by what could be described as an affinity between the intimate expectations of these people uprooted from their homelands, and the religious life. Theirs are the expectations, often unexpressed, of the poor with no prospect of security, of outcasts often mortified in their longing for fraternity and communion. When offered by those who have voluntarily chosen to live in poverty, chastity and obedience, this solidarity is not only a support in their difficult situation but also a witness to values that can enkindle hope in sad situations (cf. no. 8). Here, then, is an urgent invitation to all institutes of the consecrated life and to all societies of apostolic life to be generous in widening the horizons of their work with a truly missionary dimension, an appeal that should be considered especially by religious congregations whose specific goal is missionary


84. There is no doubt that today many religious institutes are more and more aware that the migration problem represents more or less a challenge to their charisms. But so that this spiritual awareness and the appeals of the Church’s magisterium may take on concrete form, we would suggest here to superiors general that they collaborate generously with pastoral workers for migrants and refugees by assigning some of their own members to work in this sector, backed up by the solidarity and collaboration of the entire religious community. Perhaps they might also make available for this work, either permanently or for a certain period, some part of their buildings that would otherwise remain unused.

We would further suggest that, in their circular letters to their members and in their meetings, superiors should from time to time focus on the urgency of the problem of migrants and refugees, drawing attention to Church documents and the words of the Holy Father. They might also care to bring up this matter on the occasion of general or provincial chapters and during courses of updating and permanent formation. Future presbyters too should at least consider the possibility of preparing themselves to exercise their ministry or part of it among migrants


85. As regards the practical life of men and women religious working for migrants, it should be stressed as a fundamental criterion that the religious life as such must be safeguarded and appreciated in its inspiration and in its particular forms. It is in itself the image of perfect charity, a charism whose treasures are of benefit to the whole community. Pastoral care for migrants undoubtedly needs religious communities, but these in turn must be able to live and work in observance of and adhesion to their own constitutional norms. This is stated quite clearly in Mutuae Relationes: «In this hour of cultural evolution and ecclesial renewal, therefore, it is necessary to preserve the identity of each institute so securely, that the danger of an ill-defined situation be avoided, lest religious, failing to give due consideration to the particular mode of action proper to their character, become part of the life of the Church in a vague and ambiguous way » (MR 11).

The laity, lay associations and ecclesial movements: for an engagement among migrants

86. In both the Church and society the lay faithful, lay associations and ecclesial movements, with all the diversity of their charisms and ministries, are called to bear Christian witness and to be in the service of migrants too

75. In particular we have in mind pastoral assistants and catechists, animators of groups of young people or adults, persons engaged in the world of labour, in social and charitable services (cf. PaG 51).

In a Church that strives to be entirely missionary-ministerial, urged by the Spirit, respect for the gifts of all must be given prominence. In this matter the lay faithful enjoy areas of rightful autonomy, but they also take on typical tasks of diakonia, such as visiting the sick, helping the elderly, leading youth groups, animating family associations, teaching catechism and holding courses of professional qualification, working in schools and in administration and, furthermore, helping in the liturgy and in «consultation centres», in prayer meetings and in meditation on the Word of God.

87. Other and more specific tasks for the lay faithful are in trade unions and in the world of labour, advising about and writing out laws aimed at facilitating reunification of migrant families and assuring them equal rights and opportunities. This means giving them access to essential goods, work and wages, home and school and enabling them to participate in the life of civil society (elections, associations, recreational activities, etc.).

In the Church itself, one could examine the possibility of instituting a suitable form of non-ordained ministry of welcome with the task of approaching migrants and refugees and introducing them gradually into the civil and the ecclesial community or helping them in view of a possible return to their home country. In this context particular attention would need to be paid to foreign students.

88. In this connection the lay faithful, too, need systematic formation (cf. PaG 51), meant not just as transmitting of ideas and concepts but, above all, as a help – surely in an intellectual sense too – for them to bear the witness of an authentic Christian life. Ethnic and linguistic communities too are called to be places of education even before being centres of organisation, and in this widening view of things space will be given for ongoing and sys
tematic formation.

The Christian witness of the laity in building the Kingdom of God certainly heads the list of a host of important questions, including the relations of the Church and the world, faith and life, and charity and justice.


The Structures of Missionary Pastoral Care

Unity in plurality: the problems

89. There are many reasons why the specific care of migrants should be more deeply integrated into the pastoral care of particular Churches (cf. DPMC 42). The person primarily responsible for this is the diocesan/eparchial bishop who, in full respect for the migrants’ diversity and spiritual and cultural patrimony, goes beyond the limits of uniformity (cf.. PaG 65 and 72), distinguishing the territorial character of the care of souls from that of care based on belonging to ethnic, linguistic, cultural and ritual groups.

In this context each host Church is called upon to integrate the concrete reality of the persons and groups that compose it, bringing the values of each one into communion, as all are called upon to build a Church that is concretely Catholic. «In this way there is brought about a unity in plurality in the local Church, a unity that is not uniformity but harmony, in which every legitimate diversity plays its part in the common and unifying effort» (CMU 19).

In that way, in the Spirit of Pentecost, the particular Church will contribute to the foundation of a new society, in which the different languages and cultures no longer constitute inviolable confines, as after Babel, but in which this very diversity can realize a new manner of communication and communion (cf. PaG 65).

Pastoral work among migrants thus becomes a service of the Church for the faithful whose language or culture are different from those of the host country, while at the same time it ensures that the foreign communities make their own contribution to the construction of a Church that must be a sign and instrument of unity with the prospect of a renewed humanity. It is this vision that has to be deepened and assimilated also to avoid possible tensions between indigenous parishes and chaplaincies for immigrants, between indigenous presbyters and chaplains/missionaries. In all this, consideration should also be given to the classic distinction between first, second and third generations of migrants, each one having its own characteristics and specific problems.

90. Today the problem of helping migrants find their place in the Church is mainly on two planes: one is canonical and structural and the other theological and pastoral.

Human mobility today is on a world-wide scale. In the long run this certainly means going beyond pastoral care that is generally mono-ethnic, as both chaplaincies/missions for foreigners and the territorial parishes of host countries have been up to now, thus in view of a pastoral approach based on dialogue and constant mutual collaboration.

Regarding chaplaincies/missions for persons of a different culture or language, we should note that the classic pastoral expression Missio cum cura animarum was basically linked, in the past, to immigration that was temporary or at any rate going through a settling-in period. Today this solution should no longer be the almost exclusive pastoral option for immigrant communities that live at various levels of integration in their host country. In other words, new structures need to be thought out that, on the one hand, will be more «stable», with a more consequent juridical form in the particular Churches, and, on the other, will still be flexible and open to mobile or temporary immigration. It is no easy matter, but this already seems to be the challenge for the future.

Pastoral structures

91. Always bearing in mind that the migrants themselves must be the first protagonists of pastoral care, we can envisage suitable solutions both in the sphere of ethnic-linguistic pastoral care and of integrated pastoral care (cf. PaG 72).

In the first sphere, we would first of all draw attention, here, to some dynamics and pastoral structures, beginning with the Missio cum cura animarum, the classic formula for communities still being built up, applied to ethnic/national groups or those of a certain rite that have not yet settled down. Even in such chaplaincies/missions more and more emphasis will have to be laid on interethnic and intercultural relations.

On the other hand, a personal ethnic-linguistic parish or one based on a particular rite is foreseen for places where there is an immigrant community that will continually have newcomers even in the future, and where that community is numerically strong. It maintains the typical characteristic service of a parish (proclamation of the Word, catechesis, liturgy, diakonia) and will be concerned above all with recent immigrants, seasonal workers or those coming in turns, and with others who for various reasons have difficulty in finding their place in the existent territorial structures.

We can also envisage the case of a local parish with an ethnic-linguistic mission or with one based on a particular rite. This is identified with a territorial parish which, with the help of one or more pastoral workers, would take care of one or more groups of immigrant faithful. The chaplain here would be part of the parish team.

There can likewise be an ethnic-linguistic pastoral service on a zonal level, understood as pastoral care for immigrants who are relatively well integrated in the local society. It seems important indeed to keep certain elements of pastoral care based on language or linked to nationality or a particular rite. That would guarantee essential services, including those related to a particular type of culture and piety, and at the same time promote openness and interaction among the territorial community and the various ethnic groups.

92. At all events when the canonical erection of such stable structures for pastoral care appears difficult or inopportune, this does not diminish the duty to help Catholic immigrants pastorally in whatever manner seems best in view of circumstances, even without specific canonical institutions. Informal, perhaps spontaneous, pastoral arrangements deserve to be recognised and encouraged within ecclesial circumscriptions, independently of how many people benefit from them, if only to avoid the danger of improvisation and isolated and unsuited pastoral workers or even of sects.

Integrated pastoral care and its various sectors

93. Integrated pastoral care is here to be understood above all as communion that knows how to appreciate belonging to different cultures and peoples. This is in response to the Father’s plan of love, who in building His Kingdom of peace – for Christ, with Christ and in Christ – by the power of the Spirit, interweaves the historical, complex and often contradictory vicissitudes of humanity (cf. NMI 43).

On this basis we can envisage:

· the intercultural and interethnic or inter-ritual parish, providing pastoral assistance for both the local population and foreigners resident in the same territory. In this way the traditional territorial parish would become the privileged and stable place of interethnic and intercultural experience, while the individual groups would retain a certain autonomy. Or

· the local parish with a service for migrants of one or more ethnic groups, of one or more rites. This would be a territorial parish made up of the local population but whose church or parish centre would be a point of reference, meeting and community life for one or more foreign communities too.

94. Finally we could envisage certain environments, structures or specific pastoral sectors that are dedicated to animation and formation at various levels in the world of migrants. We have in mind:

· Centr
es for pastoral work among young persons and for vocational orientation
, with the task of furthering initiatives to this end;

· Centres for the formation of the laity and pastoral workers, in a multicultural perspective;

· Centres for study and pastoral reflection, with the task of observing the evolution of the migration phenomenon and presenting suitable pastoral proposals to those in charge.

Pastoral units

95. Pastoral units

76, which came into being some time ago in some dioceses, might in future constitute a pastoral platform for the apostolate among immigrants too. They manifest that the parish-territory relationship is slowly changing. It can be observed that services for the spiritual assistance of the faithful are increasing in number and going beyond parish boundaries, new legitimate forms of ministry are emerging, and, last but not least, the migrants’ «diaspora» is steadily growing in importance and spreading geographically.

Pastoral units will have the desired effect if they operate above all in the context of overall, integrated and organic pastoral work. In this framework the ethnic-linguistic chaplaincies/missions and those for specific rites can likewise be fully accepted. The requirements of communion and co-responsibility have to be manifest concretely, not only in relations between persons and different groups but also in the relations between local parish communities and ethnic-linguistic or ritual ones.


Universal Mission

Semina Verbi

(Seeds of the Word)

96. Today’s migrations constitute the greatest movement of persons, if not of peoples, of all time. They bring us into contact with men and women, our brothers and sisters, who for economic, cultural, political or religious reasons have left or have been compelled to leave their homes and end up, for the most part, in refugee camps, in a soulless megalopolis and in slums on the outskirts of cities, where they often share the marginalisation of the unemployed, the ill-adjusted youth, and abandoned women. The migrant thirsts for some gesture that will make him feel welcome, recognised and acknowledged as a person. Even just a simple greeting is one of these.

In answer to this yearning men and women of the consecrated life, communities, lay associations and ecclesial movements as well as pastoral workers should feel above all the duty to educate Christians to welcome, solidarity and openness to foreigners, so that migration may become more and more a «significant» factor for the Church, and the faithful may discover the semina Verbi (seeds of the Word) found in different cultures and religions77.

97. In the Christian community born of Pentecost, migration is an integral part of the Church’s life, clearly expresses its universality, promotes communion within it, and influences its growth. Migration thus offers the Church an historic opportunity to prove its four characteristic marks: the Church is one because in a certain sense it also expresses the unity of the whole human family; it is holy also to make all people holy and that God’s name may be sanctified in them; it is catholic furthermore in its openness to diversity that is to be harmonised; and it is likewise apostolic because it is also committed to evangelise the whole human person and all people.

It is thus clear that the Church’s missionary calling is not determined only by geographic distances but by differences of culture and religion. «Mission» is thus going out to every person to proclaim Jesus Christ and, in Christ and the Church, to bring him into communion with all humanity.

Builders of communion

98. Once the emergency phase has passed and migrants are settled in their host country, the chaplain/missionary will try to widen his own horizon and become a «deacon of communion». Being a foreigner he will be a living reminder for the local Church in all the components of its characteristic catholicity, and the pastoral structures he serves will be a sign, poor though it may be, of a particular Church committed in practice to a path of universal communion, with respect for legitimate diversities.

99. In this regard all lay faithful too, though they may not have any special functions or tasks, are to embark on the journey of communion, which implies accepting legitimate diversity. Undoubtedly the defence of Christian values also means no discrimination against immigrants, above all through a vigorous spiritual renewal of the faithful themselves. Fraternal dialogue and mutual respect, the living testimony of love and welcome, thus constitute in themselves the first and indispensable form of evangelisation.

A dialoguing and missionary spirit in pastoral care

100. Particular Churches are thus called for the gospel’s sake to a better welcome for migrants through pastoral initiatives that include meeting them and dialoguing with them as well as helping the faithful to overcome prejudices and biases. In contemporary society, to which migration contributes by making it more and more multiethnic, intercultural and multireligious, Christians are called to face a substantially new and fundamental chapter in the missionary task: that of being missionary in countries of long Christian tradition (cf. PaG 65 and 68). With great respect and attention for the migrants’ traditions and culture, we Christians are called to bear witness to the gospel of love and peace in our dealings with them and also to proclaim the Word of God explicitly to them so that the blessing of the Lord, promised to Abraham and his descendants for ever, may reach them.

Because it is dialogue, communion and mission, specific pastoral care for, among and with migrants will then become a significant expression of the Church, called to be a fraternal and peaceful meeting place, a home for all, a building sustained by the four pillars referred to by Blessed Pope John XXIII in

Pacem in Terris, namely, truth and justice, love and freedom78, the fruit of that paschal event that in Christ has reconciled everything and everybody. Thus the Church will manifest clearly that it is a home and school of communion (cf. NMI 43) accepted and shared, of reconciliation requested and given, of mutual, fraternal welcome and of authentic human and Christian development. In this way, «ever more affirmed [is the knowledge of] the innate universality of the Church’s organisation, in which no one can be considered a stranger or just a guest, or in any way on the fringe of things» (CMU 29).

The Church and Christians, sign of hope

101. Faced with the vast movement of people, the phenomenon of human mobility, considered by some as the new «credo» of contemporary man, faith reminds us how we are all pilgrims on our way towards our true homeland. «Christian life is essentially a living through the Passover with Christ, or a journey, a sublime migration towards total Communion of the Kingdom of God» (CMU 10). All the history of the Church illustrates its passion and its holy zeal for this humanity on the move.

The «foreigner» is God’s messenger who surprises us and interrupts the regularity and logic of daily life, bringing near those who are far away. In «foreigners» the Church sees Christ who «pitches His tent among us» (cf. Jn 1:14) and who «knocks at our door» (cf. Ap 3:20). This meeting – characterised by attention, welcome, sharing and solidarity, by the protection of the rights of migrants and of commitment to evangelise – reveals the constant solicitude of the Church, which discovers authentic values in migrants and considers them a great human resource.

102. God thus entrusts the Church, itself a pilgrim on earth, with the task of forging a new creation in Christ Jesus, recapitulating in Him (cf. Eph 1:9-10) all the rich treasures of
human diversity that sin has transformed into division and conflict. To the extent that the mysterious presence of this new creation is genuinely witnessed to in its life, the Church is a sign of hope for a world that ardently desires justice, freedom, truth and solidarity, that is peace and harmony

79. And notwithstanding the repeated failures of human projects, noble as they may have been, Christians, roused by the phenomenon of mobility, become aware of their call to be always and repeatedly a sign of fraternity and communion in the world, by respecting differences and practising solidarity, in their ethics of meeting others.

103. Migrants, too, can be the hidden providential builders of such a universal fraternity together with many other brothers and sisters. They offer the Church the opportunity to realize more concretely its identity as communion and its missionary vocation, as asserted by the Vicar of Christ: «Migrations offer individual local Churches the opportunity to verify their catholicity, which consists not only in welcoming different ethnic groups, but above all in creating communion with them and among them. Ethnic and cultural pluralism in the Church is not just something to be tolerated because it is transitory, it is a structural dimension. The unity of the Church is not given by a common origin and language but by the Spirit of Pentecost which, bringing together men and women of different languages and nations in one people, confers on them all faith in the same Lord and the calling to the same hope»


104. May the Virgin Mother, who together with her Blessed Son knew the pain of emigration and exile, help us to understand the experience, and very often the drama, of those who are compelled to live far from their homeland and teach us to serve them in their necessities, truly accepting them as brothers and sisters, so that today’s migrations may be considered an appeal, albeit a mysterious one, to the Kingdom of God, the first fruits of which are already present in His Church (cf. LG 9), and an instrument of Providence to further the unity of the human family and peace


Juridical Pastoral Regulations


Art. 1

§1. To the right of the faithful to receive the help that derives from the spiritual wealth of the Church, especially the Word of God and the sacraments (CIC Can. 213, CCEO Can. 16), there is a corresponding duty on the part of pastors to provide such help, in particular to migrants, in view of their particular condition of life.

§2. Since with their domicile or presence migrants are canonically part of a parish and diocese/eparchy (CIC Can. 100-107; CCEO Can. 911-917), it is the duty of the parish priest and the diocesan or eparchial bishop to extend to them the same pastoral care as is due to their own autochthonous subjects.

§3. Moreover, especially when groups of immigrants are numerous, the Churches of their origin have the responsibility of co-operating with the Churches of arrival to facilitate efficacious and suitable pastoral assistance.

Chapter I


Art. 2

§1. In fulfilling their specific tasks, the lay faithful should be engaged in concretely carrying out what truth, justice and love require. They should thus welcome migrants as brothers and sisters and do all they can to ensure that their rights, especially those concerning the family and its unity, are recognised and protected by the civil authorities.

§2. The lay faithful are also called to promote the evangelisation of the migrants through the witness of their own lives as Christians, living in faith, hope and love, and by the proclamation of the Word of God in ways that are possible and suitable for them. This commitment is even more necessary where migrants are without religious assistance because their places of residence are distant or dispersed or because of the shortage of clergy. In such cases the lay faithful should be concerned about seeking migrants out and directing them to the church of the area and in offering their own help to the chaplains/missionaries and parish priests so as to facilitate their contacts with the migrants.

Art. 3

§1. The faithful who decide to live with another people should strive to esteem the cultural patrimony of the nation that welcomes them, to contribute to its common good and to spread the faith especially by the example of Christian life.

§2. Where migrants are more numerous they, in particular, should be offered the possibility of taking part in the diocesan/eparchial and parochial pastoral councils, so as to really take their place in the particular Church’s structures of participation.

§3. While maintaining the right of migrants to have their own associations, at the same time everything should be done to facilitate their participation in local associations.

§4. The lay faithful who are culturally better prepared and spiritually more available should furthermore be urged and trained to take on a specific service as pastoral workers in close collaboration with the chaplains/missionaries.

Chapter II


Art. 4

§1. Presbyters, who have been given the mandate by the competent ecclesiastical authority to provide spiritual assistance in a stable way to migrants of the same language or nation, or belonging to the same Church sui iuris, are called chaplains/missionaries for migrants; in virtue of their office they are endowed with the faculties described in Can. 566, §1 of the CIC.

§2. This office should be conferred on a presbyter who has been well prepared by a suitable period of formation and who for reasons of virtue, culture and knowledge of the language and other moral and spiritual gifts, demonstrates that he is a suitable person for this particular and difficult task.

Art. 5

§1. To those presbyters who wish to devote themselves to the spiritual assistance of migrants, the diocesan or eparchial bishop should give authorisation to do so if he considers them suited to this mission, in accordance with what is laid down in CIC Can. 271 and CCEO Can. 361-362 and in these present juridical pastoral regulations.

§2. Presbyters, who have obtained due permission as explained in the preceding paragraph, should make themselves available to the Episcopal Conference ad quam, furnished with the relevant document granted to them by their own diocesan or eparchial bishop and their own Episcopal Conference, or by the competent hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches. The Episcopal Conference ad quam will then ensure that these presbyters are entrusted to the diocesan or eparchial bishop or to the bishops of the dioceses or eparchies concerned, who will appoint them chaplains/missionaries to the migrants.

§3. As far as religious presbyters who dedicate themselves to assisting migrants are concerned, the specific norms contained in Chapter III have to be applied.

Art. 6

§1. When it is deemed necessary to erect a personal parish, in view of the number of migrants or the opportuneness of providing them with special pastoral care corresponding to their needs, in doing so the diocesan or eparchial bishop shall clearly establish the confines of this parish and the rules regarding the parish books. Whenever the possibility exists, it should be kept in mind that the migrants are free to choose whether they wish to belong to the territorial parish where they are living or to the personal parish.

§2. The presbyter entrusted with a personal parish for migrants enjoys the faculties and obligations of a parish priest; what is stated here about chaplains/missionaries for migrants applies to him unless the nature of things requires otherwise.

Art. 7

§1 The diocesan or eparchial bi
shop may also erect a missio cum cura animarum in the territory of one or more parishes, clearly defining its terms of reference. It may or may not be annexed to a territorial parish.

§2. The chaplain entrusted with a missio cum cura animarum, always observing due distinctions, is juridically equivalent to a parish priest and performs his functions together with the local parish priest. He likewise has the faculty to assist at the celebration of a marriage when one of the spouses is a migrant belonging to his mission.

§3. In the case mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the chaplain is obliged to fill in the parish register as required by law and to send an authentic copy at the end of every year both to the local parish priest and to the pastor of the parish in which the marriage was celebrated.

§4. Presbyters assigned as coadjutors to a chaplain who has been entrusted with a missio cum cura animarum have, always observing due distinctions, the same tasks and faculties as parochial vicars.

§5. If circumstances render it opportune, a mission with the care of souls, erected in the territory of one or more parishes, may be annexed to a territorial parish, especially when the latter is entrusted to members of the same institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life as those who are caring for the spiritual assistance of the migrants.

Art. 8

§1. To every chaplain of migrants, even if not entrusted with a missio cum cura animarum, in so far as possible, a church or oratory should be assigned for the exercise of his sacred ministry. In the contrary case, the competent diocesan or eparchial bishop shall issue opportune instructions authorising the chaplain/missionary to exercise his spiritual duties freely, and together with the local parish priest, in a church, not excluding the one of the parish.

§2. Diocesan or eparchial bishops shall ensure that the tasks of migrants’ chaplains/missionaries are coordinated with the office of the parish priests and that the latter should accept and help them (cf. CIC Can. 571). It is also fitting that some chaplains/missionaries for migrants be called to be members of the diocesan presbyteral council.

Art. 9

Unless there are explicit agreements to the contrary between the diocesan or eparchial bishops, the one who has erected the mission, for which the chaplain exercises his ministry, is to guarantee him the same economic conditions and insurance coverage as enjoyed by the other presbyters of the diocese or eparchy.

Art. 10

For the duration of his appointment the chaplain/missionary for migrants is subject to the jurisdiction of the diocesan or eparchial bishop who erected the mission for which he performs his office, both as regards the exercise of his sacred ministry and also the observance of Church discipline.

<p>Art. 11

§1. In countries in which there are numerous chaplains/missionaries for migrants of the same language, it is opportune that one of them should be appointed national co-ordinator.

§2. In consideration that the co-ordinator’s responsibility is to co-ordinate the ministry and service of the chaplains/missionaries operating within a particular nation, he acts on behalf of the Episcopal Conference ad quam, by whose president he is appointed after consultation with the Episcopal Conference a qua.

§3. The co-ordinator shall generally be chosen from among the chaplains/missionaries of the same nationality or language.

§4. The co-ordinator does not enjoy any power of jurisdiction in virtue of his office.

§5. In view of his office the co-ordinator has the duty of maintaining relations both with the diocesan and eparchial bishops of the country a quo and with those of the country ad quem.

§6. It is opportune to discuss matters with the co-ordinators when appointing, transferring or replacing chaplains/missionaries, and also when envisaging the erection of a new mission.

Chapter III


Art. 12

§1. All institutes, in which religious of various nations are often present, can make their contribution to assistance for migrants. Ecclesiastical authorities should therefore encourage in particular the work done by those who, under the seal of religious vows, have the apostolate to migrants as their own specific goal or who have acquired appreciable experience in that field.

§2. The help offered by women’s religious institutes to the apostolate among migrants should also be appreciated and valued. The diocesan or eparchial bishop shall therefore ensure that these institutes, with full respect for their own rules and bearing in mind their obligations and their charism, lack neither the spiritual assistance nor the material means necessary for them to carry out their mission.

Art. 13

§1. In general whenever a diocesan or eparchial bishop intends to entrust the care of migrants to a religious institute, with due respect for the customary canonical norms, he will draw up a written agreement with the superior of that institute. If more than one diocese or eparchy is involved, the agreement must be signed by every diocesan or eparchial bishop. The role of co-ordinating these initiatives belongs to the competent commission of the Episcopal Conference or the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

§2. If the pastoral care of migrants is entrusted to an individual religious, it is always necessary first to obtain the consent of his superior and in this case too to draw up the relative agreement in writing; in other words, taking into consideration due distinctions, the procedure is the same as that laid down in Art. 5 for diocesan presbyters.

Art. 14

As regards carrying out their apostolate among migrants and itinerant people, all religious are bound to obey the dispositions of the diocesan or eparchial bishop. Even in the case of institutes with the specific goal of assisting migrants, everything done and all initiatives taken in the migrants’ favour are subject to the authority and direction of the diocesan or eparchial bishop, allowing however for the right of superiors to watch over the religious life and the zeal with which their members carry out their ministry.

Art. 15

Everything laid down in this chapter about religious is applicable, respecting due distinctions, to societies of apostolic life and to secular institutes.

Chapter IV


Art. 16

§1. The diocesan or eparchial bishop shall devote special care to migrant faithful, above all by supporting the pastoral action in their favour performed by parish priests and the chaplains/missionaries for immigrants. In this he shall ask any necessary help from the migrants’ Churches of origin, or from other institutions devoted to spiritual assistance for migrants, and also provide for the creation of pastoral structures best adapted to the circumstances and pastoral needs. If necessary, the diocesan or eparchial bishop shall appoint an episcopal vicar with the charge of directing the pastoral care of migrants, or else he shall set up a special office for the migrants themselves at the episcopal or eparchial chancery.

§2. Since the spiritual care of the faithful is the duty in primis of the diocesan or eparchial bishop, it is his responsibility to erect personal parishes and missiones cum cura animarum and to appoint chaplain/missionaries. The diocesan or eparchial bishop shall ensure that the territorial parish priest and the presbyters entrusted with migrants move forward together in a spirit of collaboration and understanding.

§3. The diocesan or eparchial bishop, in accordance with CIC Can. 383 and CCEO Can. 19
3, shall also provide for spiritual assistance to migrants of another Church sui iuris, supporting the pastoral work of presbyters of the same rite or of other presbyters, and observing the relevant canonical norms.

Art. 17

§1. With regard to Christian migrants not in full communion with the Catholic Church, the diocesan or eparchial bishop shall have an attitude of charity, promoting ecumenism as understood by the Church and offering these immigrants the spiritual help that is possible and necessary, respecting the norms concerning communicatio in sacris and the legitimate desiderata of their pastors.

§2. The diocesan or eparchial bishop shall also consider unbaptised migrants as entrusted to him in the Lord and, with respect for their freedom of conscience, shall offer them too the possibility of coming to the truth that is Christ.

Art. 18

§1. The diocesan or eparchial bishops of the countries a quibus shall remind parish priests of their serious duty to provide for all the faithful a religious formation such that, if the case may be, they will be able to face the difficulties connected with their departure for emigration.

§2. The diocesan or eparchial bishops of the places a quibus shall moreover take it upon themselves to seek out diocesan/eparchial presbyters who are suited for pastoral care with emigrants, and they shall not neglect to enter into close relations with the Episcopal Conference or the corresponding hierarchical structure of the Eastern Catholic Church of the nation ad quam in order to help in pastoral work.

§3. Even in dioceses/eparchies or regions where it is not immediately necessary for seminarians to specialise in the field of migration, the problems of human mobility should be taken more and more into account in the teaching of theology, especially pastoral theology.

Chapter V


Art. 19

§1. In countries to which migrants go or which they leave in larger numbers, the Episcopal Conferences and the competent hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches shall set up a special national commission for migration. It will have its secretary, who in general will take on the office of national director for migration. It is very opportune that religious should be present on this Commission as experts, especially those working for the spiritual assistance of migrants, as well as lay faithful qualified in this matter.

§2. In other countries where there are fewer migrants, the Episcopal Conferences or the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches shall appoint a bishop promoter to ensure that migrants are properly assisted.

§3. Episcopal Conferences and the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches will inform the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the composition of the commission described in the first paragraph or the name of the bishop promoter.

Art. 20

§1. It is the duty of the Migration Commission or the bishop promoter:

1. to gather information on the migration situation in the country and to pass on useful data to the diocesan/eparchial bishops, and in contact also with the centres for migration studies;

2. to animate and stimulate the relevant diocesan commissions, which in turn will do the same with those parochial commissions concerned with the vast and more general phenomenon of human mobility;

3. to receive requests for chaplains/missionaries from the bishops of dioceses/eparchies in which there is immigration and introduce to them the presbyters proposed for this ministry;

4. to propose to the Episcopal Conference and the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches, when necessary, the appointment of a national coordinator for the chaplains/missionaries;

5. to establish opportune contacts with Episcopal Conferences and the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches concerned;

6. to establish opportune contacts with the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and to pass on indications received from the Council to the diocesan or eparchial bishops;

7. to send an annual report on the situation of the pastoral care of migrants to the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, to the Episcopal Conference, to the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and also to the diocesan/eparchial bishops.

§2. It is the task of the national director:

1. to facilitate in general – also in reference to Art. 11 – the relations of the bishops of his own country with the national commission or with the bishop promoter;

2. to compile the report mentioned in point 7, §1 of this Article.

Art. 21

In order to arouse the awareness of all the faithful to their duty of fraternity and charity towards migrants and to collect the necessary economic aid to fulfil pastoral obligations towards them, the Episcopal Conferences and the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches shall fix a date for a «Day (or Week) of Migrants and Refugees» at a time and in the manner called for by local circumstances, even if for the future it is to be hoped that a fixed date can be agreed upon for its celebration everywhere.

Chapter VI



Art. 22

§1. It is the task of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People to guide «the pastoral solicitude of the Church to the particular needs of those who have been forced to abandon their homeland as well as those who have none. Consequently the Council closely follows all questions pertaining to this matter» (PB 149). Moreover «the Council is committed to assuring that particular Churches offer efficacious and relevant spiritual assistance to refugees and exiles, by setting up adequate pastoral structures when necessary, as well as to migrants» (PB 150, 1), always however with due respect for the pastoral responsibility of local Churches and the competence of other organs of the Roman Curia.

§2. It is therefore the duty of the Pontifical Council among other things:

1. to study the reports sent in by Episcopal Conferences or the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches;

2. to issue instructions, referred to by Can. 34 of the CIC, to make suggestions and encourage initiatives, activities and programmes to develop structures and institutions relating to the pastoral care of migrants;

3. to promote exchange of information among the different Episcopal Conferences or of that coming from the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to facilitate their relations with one another, especially when it is a matter of transferring a presbyter from one nation to another for the pastoral care of migrants;

4. to study, encourage, and animate the pastoral activity of regional and continental organisms of ecclesial communion to co-ordinate and harmonise initiatives in favour of migrants;

5. to study situations to evaluate if, in determined places, there are circumstances that may suggest specific pastoral structures for migrants (cf. no. 24, note 23);

6. to promote the relations of religious institutes that offer spiritual assistance to migrants with the Episcopal Conferences and the corresponding hierarchical structures of the Eastern Catholic Churches and to follow their work, always with due respect for the competence of the Congregation f
or the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life in matters regarding the observance of the religious life, and the competence of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches;

7. to stimulate and participate in useful or necessary initiatives in view of a profitable and sound ecumenical collaboration in the field of migration, in agreement with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;

8. to stimulate and participate in those initiatives that are considered necessary or advantageous for dialogue with groups of non-Christian migrants, in agreement with the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

Notwithstanding any contrary dispositions.

On 1 May 2004, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, the Holy Father approved the present Instruction of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and authorized its publication.

Rome, from the offices of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, on the 3rd of May 2004, Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles.

Stephen Fumio Cardinal Hamao


Agostino Marchetto

Titular Archbishop of Astigi




Apostolicam actuositatem (II Vatican Council)

AAS Acta Apostolicae Sedis

AG Ad Gentes (II Vatican Council)

CCEO Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium

CD Christus Dominus (II Vatican Council)

CfL Christifideles Laici (Pope John Paul II)

CIC Codex Iuris Canonici

CMU Chiesa e mobilitá umana (The Church and Human Mobility) (Pontifical Commission

for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism)

DPMC De Pastorali Migratorum Cura (Congregation for Bishops)

EA Ecclesia in America (Pope John Paul II)

EE Ecclesia de Eucharistia (Pope John Paul II)

EEu Ecclesia in Europa (Pope John Paul II)

EN Evangelii Nuntiandi (Pope Paul VI)

EO Ecclesia in Oceania (Pope John Paul II)

EV Enchiridion Vaticanum

GS Gaudium et Spes (II Vatican Council)

LG Lumen Gentium (II Vatican Council)

Message The Holy Father‘s Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

MR Mutuae Relationes (Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and

Congregation for Bishops)

NMI Novo Millennio Ineunte (Pope John Paul II)

OE Orientalium Ecclesiarum (II Vatican Council)

OR L’Osservatore Romano

PaG Pastores Gregis (Pope John Paul II)

PB Pastor Bonus (Pope John Paul II)

PdV Pastores dabo vobis (Pope John Paul II)

PG Patrologia Graeca, Migne

PL Patrologia Latina, Migne

PO Presbyterorum Ordinis (II Vatican Council)

PT Pacem in Terris (Pope John XXIII)

RH Redemptor Hominis (Pope John Paul II)

RMa Redemptoris Mater (Pope John Paul II)

RMi Redemptoris Missio (Pope John Paul II)

SC Sacrosanctum Concilium (II Vatican Council)

1 Pope John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace 2001 Dialogue between Cultures for a Civilisation of Love and Peace, 12: AAS XCIII (2001) 241; cf. also John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte, 55: AAS XCIII (2001) 306.

2 Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism, circular letter to Episcopal Conferences Chiesa e mobilità umana, 8: AAS LXX (1978) 362.

3 Cf. Pope John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, 8: AAS XCV (2003) 655 and Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis, 69 and 72: OR 17 October 2003, p. 12.

4 Cf. Pope John Paul II, Angelus Domini of Sunday, 6 July 2003: OR 7-8 July 2003, p. 1.

5 The Convention also mentions those principles and rights that already exist in the international arena and which can very well be applied to migrants. It makes reference, for instance, to the Slavery Conventions, the Convention against Discrimination in the Field of Education, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Mention must also be made of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Manila Declaration of the Fourth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. It is therefore significant that even those countries, which have not ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and the Members of Their Families, are obliged to observe the aforementioned instruments, naturally if they ratified or subsequently adhered to them.

On the rights of migrants in civil society, cf., for instance from the Church’s point of view, Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Laborem Exercens, 23: AAS LXXIII (1981) 635-637.

6 Cf. 2003 Message: OR Weekly Edition in English, 11 December 2002, p. 6.

7 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, Proemio, 22, 30-32: AAS LVIII (1966) 1025-1027; 1042-1044; 1049-1051; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1, 7 and 13; AAS LVII (1965) 5, 9-11, 17-18; Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem, 14: AAS LVIII (1966) 850ff.; Pope John XXIII, Encyclical Pacem in Terris, Part I: AAS LV (1963) 259-269; Pontifical Council Cor Unum and Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Refugees, a Challenge to Solidarity: EV 13 (1991-1993) 1019-1037; Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace, Self-Reliance: compter sur soi: EV 6 (1977-1979) 510-563; and Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, The Church and the Racism, Vatican City 2001.

8 1999 Message, 3: OR 21 February 1999, p. 7.

9 Cf. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris Mater, 25: AAS LXXIX (1987) 394.

10 Cf. Letter to Diognetus 5.1, quoted in Message 1999, 2: l.c. 7.

11 Cf. Clement of Rome, Letter to the Corinthians, X-XII: PG 1, 228-233; Didaché, XI, 1; XII, 1-5, ed. F.X.FUNK, 1901, pp. 24, 30; Apostolic Constitutions, VII, 29, 2, ed. F.X.FUNK, 1905, p.418; Justin, Apologia I, 67: PG 6, 429; Tertullian, Apologeticum, 39: PL 1, 471; Tertullian, De praescriptione haereticorum, 20: PL 2, 32; Augustine, Sermo 103, 1-2. 6: PL 38, 613-615.

12 Cf. John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris Missio, 20: AAS LXXXIII (1991) 267.

13 We may remember among others the Salesians of St John Bosco in Argentina, the initiatives of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, especially in North America, the two religious Congregations founded by Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, the Bonomelli Work in Italy, the St. Raphaels-Verein in Germany and th
e Society of Christ for Emigrants founded by Card. August Hlond in Poland.

14 Cf. Sacra Congregatio Consistorialis, Decretum de Sacerdotibus in certas quasdam regiones demigrantibus Ethnografica studia: AAS VI (1914) 182-186.

15 Cf. Sacra Congregatio Consistorialis, Decretum de Clericis in certas quasdam regiones demigrantibus Magni semper: AAS XI (1919) 39-43.

16 Cf. AAS XLIV (1952) 649-704.

17 The first part of the encyclical Pacem in Terris, dealing with the right to emigrate or immigrate, states, «Every human person has the right to move freely and to settle anywhere within the political community of which he is a citizen and also the right, when legitimate interests make this advisable, to immigrate to other political communities and settle there»: l.c. 263.

18 The Decree of the Second Vatican Council on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church Christus Dominus, 18: AAS LVIII (1966) 682. Regarding the «dispositions already given» cf. Pius X, Motu proprio Iam pridem: AAS VI (1914) 173ff; Pius XII, Exsul Familia, especially the normative part, l.c. 692-704; Sacra Congregatio Consistorialis, Leges Operis Apostolatus Maris, auctoritate Pii Div. Prov. PP. XII conditae: AAS L (1958) 375-383.

19 1993 Cf. Message, 6: OR 2nd August 1992, p.5.

20 Paul VI, Motu proprio Pastoralis Migratorum Cura: AAS LXI (1969) 601-603.

21 Instruction of the Congregation for Bishops De pastorali migratorum cura (Nemo est): AAS LXI (1969) 614-643.

22 Cf. The Church and Human Mobility, l.c. 357-378.

23 Cf. CIC Can. 294 and John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, 65 note 237: AAS XCI (1999) 800. Cf. also John Paul II’sPost-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Europa, 103 note 166, l.c. 707.

24 Cf. John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Sacri Canones, AAS LXXXII (1990) 1037.

25 For specific norms and regulations concerning the Eastern Catholic Churches in this context, cf. CCEO, Can. 315 (which deals with Exarchates and Exarchs), Can. 911 and 916 (on the status of the foreigner and the local ordinary, his own ordinary and his own parish priest), Can. 986 (on authority of government), Can. 1075 (on the competent forum) and Can. 1491 (on laws, customs and administrative acts).

26 Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 77: AAS LXXIV (1982) 176.

27 Cf. the Instruction of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life Starting Afresh from Christ, a Renewed Commitment to Consecrated Life in the Third Millennium, 9, 35, 36, 37 and 44: OR Weekly Edition in English 26 June 2002, Special Insert pp. III, VIII, IX.

28 Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptor Hominis, 14: AAS LXXI (1979) 284-286.

29 Cf. in particular the 1992 Message: OR 11 September 1991, p.5, and those of 1996: OR 6 September 1995, p.6 and 1998: OR 21 November 1997, p.4

30 Cf. 1993 Message: 2, l.c. 5.

31 Cf. John Paul II, » Faith Calls Us to Welcome the Immigrant», Address to the IV World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (5-10 October 1998): OR Weekly Edition in English 4 November 1998, p.8. Cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Holy Father’s Address, 2: Proceedings of IV World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, Vatican City 1999, p. 9.

32 Cf. 1996 Message: OR 6 September 1995, p.6.

33 1988 Message, 3b: OR 4 September 1987, p.5.

34 Cf. 1990 Message, 5: OR 22 September 1989, p.5, and those of 1992, 3, 5-6: l.c. 5, and 2003: OR 2-3 December 2002, p.7.

35 Cf. 1987 Message: OR 21 September 1986 p.5, and that of 1994: OR 17 September 1993 p.4.

36 Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, Memorandum for the constitution of a pontifical commission Pro emigratis catholicis (4 May 1905), in S. Tomasi and G. Rosoli, «Scalabrini e le migrazioni moderne. Scritti e carteggi», Turin 1997, p.233.

37 Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia Pastor Bonus, 149-151: AAS LXXX (1988) 899-900.

38 Pope John Paul II’s Address to members of the International Catholic Migration Commission, 4: OR 12-13 November 2001, p.6.

39 Ibidem

40 In particular Pope Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (no. 20) draws attention to the need for the evangelization of different cultures. He states that «what matters is to evangelize man’s culture and cultures … in the wide and rich sense which these terms have in Gaudium et spes [cf. no. 53], always taking the person as one’s starting point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God. The Gospel, and therefore evangelisation, are certainly not identical with culture, and they are independent in regard to all cultures. Nevertheless, the Kingdom which the Gospel proclaims is lived by men who are profoundly linked to a culture, and the building up of the Kingdom cannot avoid borrowing the elements of human culture and cultures»: AAS LXVIII (1976) 18-19.

41 Cf. also Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the Bishops on Certain Aspects of the Church as Communion, 8-9: AAS LXXXV (1993) 842-844.

42 Cf. also Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 11: AAS LVIII (1966) 959-960.

43 Ibidem 38: l.c. 986.

44 Cf. Second Vatican Council Decree on the Ministry and Life of Presbyters Presbyterorum ordinis, 2 and 6: AAS LVIII (1966) 991-993, 999-1001 and the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 47: AAS LVI (1964) 113, as also GS 66.

Ecclesiae de mysterio: AAS LXXXIX (1997) 852-877 and PaG 51 and 68.

46 Chapter 15 of the Epistle to the Romans gives us the basic features of the duty to welcome others. The welcome must be «Christian» and profound and come from the heart (May God «help you all to be tolerant with each other, following the example of Christ Jesus»: v. 5); it must be generous and gratuitous, disinterested and not possessive («Christ did not think of himself … , he became [a] servant»: vv. 3 and 8); it must be benevolent and strengthening («Each of us should think of his neighbours and help them to become stronger Christians»: v. 2); and it must be attentive to the weaker ones («We who are strong have a duty to put up with the qualms of the weak without thinking of ourselves»: v. 1).

47 Cf. 1992 Message, 3-4: l.c. 5 and PaG 65.

48 Cf. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, 23: AAS LXXXI (1989) 429-433, RMi 71 and PaG 40.

49 Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter on the Sanctification of Sunday Dies Domini, 53: AAS XC (1998) 747; cf. Congregation for Divine Worship, Directory on Sunday Worship in the Absence of a Priest Christi Ecclesia, 18-50: EV XI (1988-1989) 452-468, and Interdicasterial Instruction Ecclesiae de mysterio, Art. 4 and 7: l.c. 860, 869-870.

50 Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy. Principles and Orientations, Vatican City, 2002; and International Theology Commission, Faith and Inculturation, Part Three,
Present-day Inculturation Problems, 2-7: EV 11 (1988-1989) 876-878.

51 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 4 and 6: AAS LVII (1965) 77-78.

52 Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, De Benedictionibus, Vatican City 1985.

53 Cf. 1991 Message: OR 15 August 1990, p.5; Secretariats for Christian Unity, for Non-Christians and for Non-Believers and Pontifical Council for Culture (eds.), The Phenomenon of Sects and New Religious Movements: a Pastoral Challenge, Vatican City 1986; and Sects and New Religious Movements: Texts of the Catholic Church (1986-1994) (by the Work Group for New Religious Movements),Vatican City 1995. Regarding «New Age», cf. Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Interreligious Dialogue, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life. A Christian Reflection on the «New Age», Vatican City 2003.

54 As regards the provisions for the coordination of different rites in one and the same territory, cf. CCEO Can. 202, 207 and 322.

55 Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 137: AAS LXXXV (1993) 1090.

56 Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 45: OR 18 April 2003, p.5. Referring to his encyclical Ut unum sint, the Holy Father states as follows for Catholics: «Likewise in certain cases and in particular circumstances, Catholics, too, may have recourse to the same sacraments from ministers of those Churches in which they are valid» (no. 46: AAS LXXXVII [1995] 948). «These conditions must be carefully examined; they cannot be waived even in this matter of certain cases, because with the denial of one or more truths of the faith regarding these sacraments, including the necessity of the ministerial priesthood, a faithful Catholic cannot receive communion in a community that lacks the valid sacrament of ordination» (EE 46).

57 Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 107: l.c. 1083.

58 Cf. RMi 37b, 52, 53, 55-57: l.c. 283, 299, 300, 302-305.

59 Cf. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogo e annuncio, 42-50: AAS LXXXIV (1992) 428-431.

60 In schools in which meals are offered, account must be taken of the dietary rules of the pupils, unless their parents declare that they renounce this. The school should also provide occasion for dialogue on common activities between parents, including those belonging to other religions.

61 Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania, 45: AAS XCIV (2002) 417-418.

62 Cf. The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Church’s Relations with Non-Christian Religions Nostra aetate, 1-3, 5: AAS LVIII (1966) 740-744 and also EEu 57.

63 Cf. also Secretariat for Non-Christians, The Church’s Attitude Towards the Followers of Other Religions, 32: OR 11-12 June 1984, p.4.

64 Cf. 2002 Message, 3: OR 19 October 2001, p.5.

65 Circular letter of the Congregation for Catholic Education, The Mobility Phenomenon, addressed to diocesan ordinaries and the rectors of their seminaries, on the inclusion of pastoral care for human mobility in the training of future priests, (1986), Appendix 3: EV 10 (1986-87) 14.

66 Ibidem 4.

67 Cf. Pope John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, 58: AAS LXXXIV (1992) 760.

68 For the definition of «missionary» or «chaplain» cf. DPMC 35. The new CIC simply uses the word cappellanus, cf. Can. 564-572. Regarding the specific purpose of this missionary activity cf. AG 6; for the necessity of the Church’s mandate cf. DPMC 36; for those the activity is meant for, i.e. the migrants, cf. DPMC 15 and the above-mentioned circular letter The Church and Human Mobility, 2: l.c. 358. As regards the concept of the pastoral care of migrants cf. DPMC 15.

69 Cf. DPMC 37 and 42-43.

70 Cf. Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and Congregation for Bishops, Directives on the Mutual Relations between Bishops and Religious in the Church, Mutuae Relationes, 11 and 12: AAS LXX (1978) 480-481.

71 Cf. Note 13.

72 Pope John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, 58: AAS LXXXVIII (1996) 430; cf. EEu 42-43.

73 Cf. Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism, Joint Letter to All Men and Women Religious in the World: People on the Move 48 (1987) 163-166.

74 Cf. The Joint Instruction of the Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes and the Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migration and Tourism An Invitation to Pastoral Commitment for Migrants and Refugees, 11: SCRIS Informationes, 15 (1989) 183-184; cf. AG 20 and DPMC 52, 53, 54.

75 Cf. 1988 Message: l.c. 5; Instruction Ecclesiae de mysterio, 4: l.c. 860-861, and EEu 41.

76 They are generally composed of several parishes that the bishop has requested to work together to constitute an efficacious «missionary community» to operate in a given territory in harmony with the diocesan pastoral plan. It amounts basically to a form of inter-parish collaboration and coordination (between two or more adjacent parishes).

77 Cf. 1996 Message: OR 6 September 1995, p.6.

78 Cf. PT, first part: l.c. 265-266.

79 Cf. ibidem, 266.

80 1988 Message, 3c: OR 4 September 1987, p.5.

81 Cf. 2004 Message: OR 24 December 2003, p.5.

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