“The understandable focus on the COVID-19 pandemic must not distract people from another ongoing crisis. Migration is a major challenge for much of today’s world and a priority for the Catholic Church. In words and deeds, Pope Francis repeatedly shows his deep compassion for all who are displaced. Witness his encounters with migrants and refugees on the islands of Lampedusa and Lesbos. He invites us to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate the people who have been forced to leave their homes and also all victims of human trafficking. Those four verbs formed the basis of Pope Francis’ 2018 message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. and are again proposed to us this year by the Pontiff: he pushes us with greater force to take care of those who are “on the move”, writes Mgr. Christopher Prowse, Bishop Delegate for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees of the Australian Church, on the occasion of the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday 27 September.
In his message, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Prelate underlines how the ongoing migration crisis finds its icon in the image of the Holy Family, which “represents people ‘on the move’. The biblical image of the flight of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to Egypt has always inspired the work of Catholics on various aspects of migration. The Church stands by the frailties and dangers of millions of people who move around the world to seek a dignified home”.
To allow all the faithful to learn more about the migratory phenomenon, the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office has prepared a special pastoral kit that includes the message from Pope Francis, the letter from Archbishop Prowse, a message from a Vatican expert on migration and community stories of migrants and refugees in Australia. In addition, a collection of prayers and liturgical resources has been produced for all parish communities that will celebrate World Day. In this way, the Australian Church intends to give ample spiritual, pastoral, and social importance to a phenomenon that of migration, which closely challenges Australian society and politics.