Caritas is ramping up preparation for the Global Week of Action, one of the high points of the organization’s two-year Share the Journey campaign. Caritas organisations and local communities will promote a variety of activities to encourage learning and action around the migration experience and to understand how we are all part of each other’s journey.
The action week runs from June 17-24, 2018, wrapping around World Refugee Day, which is on June 20, 2018. During the week, Caritas organizations across the world will be promoting action that week. The organizations work in communities in over 160 countries.
“Hope is what drives the hearts of those who depart,” said Pope Francis on September 27, 2017, as he opened the Share the Journey migration campaign. He stressed the need to build relationships between migrants, refugees, and local communities.
Speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, the Pope said that hope “is also what drives the hearts of those who welcome: the desire to meet each other, get to know each other, to dialogue.”
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis said at the launch, “If we bond with refugees and migrants, we will break down the barriers with which some are trying to separate us. The campaign reaches out to recognize, restore and share our common humanity.”
In an interview on April 26, 2018, with Vatican News, Cardinal Tagle said: “We are very happy to note that in many countries now, where the episcopal conferences and the national Caritas organizations have picked up the Shared Journey campaign, it is slowly spreading.” He said he was happy to see that wherever local Caritas organizations are found, new programs are moving ahead: “I am very pleased to say that bishops and local Caritas organizations, even on the parish level, have been given extra courage and motivation by the campaign.”
Pope Francis has spoken of a ‘culture of encounter’ as a common goal, encouraging people to be fearless in the ways they look beyond themselves to the needs of others, “Faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others,” he has said.
Christ is constantly reaching out to us. But an encounter only happens when that invitation is acknowledged and responded to. By encountering Christ, we can then encounter others. This means reaching out, building friendships beyond our circle and meeting people on the peripheries, the poorest and vulnerable, migrants and refugees.
While washing the feet of Muslim, Hindu and Christian refugees during Holy Thursday Mass, Pope Francis said, “We are children of the same God.” He has traveled to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Greek island of Lesvos and the USA-Mexico border, shining a spotlight on “the human tragedy” of forced migration.