Official: Jesus Has No Favorite Nation

Migrants-Council President Encourages «New Eyes»

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ROME, MAY 19, 2009 ( The newly named president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers says Christ does not have favorites among the nations, since citizens of every country are called to form the one people of God.

Archbishop Antonio Vegliò said this Sunday during a homily at the Basilica of St. John Lateran on the 18th Festival of the Peoples, a celebration in honor of immigrants that is becoming a tradition in Rome.

The archbishop’s appointment as the president of the pontifical council for migrants was made public that same day.

Archbishop Vegliò exhorted the faithful to «welcome into the depths of our hearts the message of Jesus,» L’Osservatore Romano reported today.

Christ does not play favorites with nations, he added, since all of us are called to make up the one people of God.

The prelate cited a phrase from Pope John Paul II, saying, «In the Church of God, no one is a foreigner.»

Archbishop Vegliò committed himself to do all he could to bring the ecclesial community to see migrants «with new eyes, different eyes,» so that others will come to follow their example.

At the same time, the prelate exhorted migrants themselves to put on «new eyes […] to realize how many people love you, [to see] all the opportunities that are offered to so many of you to enable promotion on the social and civic ladder until you feel that you are citizens among citizens, and above all, brothers among brothers.»

Regardless, the archbishop recalled, «there is One who sees us with the same eyes always: Christ the Lord, who turns on us his gaze of benevolence, encouragement and friendship.»

Archbishop Vegliò had been the secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches since 2001. The 71-year-old archbishop was born in Italy and has been serving in the Church’s diplomatic service for more than 20 years, with assignments in Africa and the Middle East.

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