Prelate Encourages Welcoming Immigrants

Says it Is Part of the Church’s Missionary Vocation

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TECUN UMAN, Guatemala, JUNE 2, 2009 ( The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers is promoting a culture of welcome for immigrants as an important part of the Church’s missionary activity.

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto affirmed this today, the first day of a meeting of the bishops’ conferences of the United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

The prelate gave an address titled «The Conciliar Church and the Pastoral Care of Welcome» as part of the meeting, which is under way in Tecun Uman through Thursday.

He highlighted the «pastoral care of welcome» as part of the «evangelization of cultures.»

The archbishop explained that the care of migrants amounts to «making contact between people of different nationalities, ethnicities and religions.»

He added that it contributes to «making visible the true character of the Church and enhancing the value of ecumenism.»

The prelate noted that «the ecclesial welcome offered to migrant Catholics is a privileged opportunity, albeit often a painful one, to achieve a greater sense of belonging to the universal Church beyond particularities.»

This pastoral care, Archbishop Marchetto affirmed, is based in «a culture of welcome.»

He asserted that the Church’s «mission is accomplished not only in the so-called mission territories, traditionally those of Africa or Asia.» Rather, he said, «given that today the inhabitants of different continents are moving,» the «mission must move» along with them.»

The prelate affirmed that missionary work with migrants should combine «dialogue and proclamation,» based in fundamental Christian principles such as «the freedom of the act of faith, the duty to search for the truth» and «the rejection of relativism as far as religion is concerned.»

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