Cardinal Veglio's Intervention at Synod of Bishops

“We Must Attend to the Pastoral care of Welcoming Mobile Peoples”

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 16, 2012 ( Here is the translation of the intervention of Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. The address was given at the Synod of Bishops on the New Evanglization. 

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The topic of human mobility offers significant possibilities for new evangelization, since it presents men and women, young and old, marked by meaningful life experiences, projects, insecurities and sufferings, which shed light on the most pressing questions of their existence, and they feel the need to give meaning to their daily life. Faced with profound questions, the faith is shown to be an answer that interprets, illuminates and fills them with meaning, and Christ appears as the ultimate key to an understanding of human life.

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People wishes to underline the importance of the migratory phenomenon and, with it, the entire issue of human mobility. This offers the Church new opportunities for evangelization. With reference to those who do not know Christ and who establish themselves in countries of Christian tradition, there is the challenge of offering them the Kerigma. On the other hand, those who have been evangelized in their country of origin need pastoral accompaniment that helps them remain firm in the faith, while they may in turn become evangelizers. 

The migratory phenomenon also places in discussion the welcoming communities, obliging them not only to review the proposals of evangelization, but also putting the very faith of its members to the test, in particular at the moment of proclaiming it to others.

With regard to the indissoluble relationship between the love for God and love for one’s neighbor, the presence of mobile persons has also required a supportive response from the Church, at the same time an evangelizer, since charity “proclaims and bears witness to faith” (Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate, 15). The sphere of suffering and solidarity presents itself as a space for dialogue with the world and an area for testimony of the faith, where charity is the fundamental tool for the new evangelization.

The principal challenge is to know how to link these two inseparable aspects, explicit evangelization and human promotion, avoiding the reduction of our action to just one of these, or satisfying ourselves with a simple silent testimony or implicit evangelization.
In effect, among pastoral workers in this sector there is growing awareness that both social attention and explicit evangelization form part of the mission entrusted to them.
In the context of human mobility, pilgrimage is also a field favorable to the new evangelization.

During recent decades, we have become aware of this possibility, passing from a devotional practice to a pastoral of pilgrimage, discovering that this moment becomes an opportunity for the renewal of the faith and also for a first evangelization. In this sense, I would underline five ideas that may be considered more deeply: first of all, it is necessary to make use of the appeal that characterizes pilgrimage to sanctuaries; then we must attend to the pastoral care of welcoming mobile peoples; to ensure synchronicity on the questions that emerge from the heart of the pilgrim; to take into consideration that our proposal must be faithful to the Christian characteristic of pilgrimage, without reductionism; and finally, to help the pilgrim to discover that his or her path has a precise destination.

For all of this, the current phenomenon of human mobility certainly appears to be a providential opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to the contemporary world.

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