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Pope Francis Encourages ‘Meal of Encounter’ and ‘Share the Journey’

‘I heartily bless your soup kitchen, and I wish you a good lunch.’

Pope Francis on June 19, 2018, continued his enthusiastic support for the “Share the Journey” campaign with a message of blessing to the participants in the “Meal of Encounter” in the “Saint John Paul II” Caritas soup kitchen in Via Marsala, Rome.

‘With this message, I wish to encourage you to continue your journey with migrants and refugees, and to share a meal with them, like the one organized here by Caritas,” the Holy Father said.

The soup kitchen is part of World Action Week (June 17-24, 2018). Caritas is organizing opportunities for interacting with migrants around the world. The Caritas website has information about events and ways to reach out to migrants.

francis tagle ctv screenshot“Hope is what drives the hearts of those who depart,” said Pope Francis on September 27, 2017, as he opened the Caritas Internationalis ‘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.”

Pope Francis warned against what he called “the enemies of hope” as he launched the Caritas two-year campaign.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis said, “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.”

The Caritas campaign is backed by its national organizations in more than 160 countries, by the ecumenical ACT Alliance of over 140 members, by the United Nations agencies the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the UN’s refugee organization, UNCHR and its’ World Food Program, along with numerous religious and civil society organizations.

Pope Francis has been a strong and consistent advocate for the rights of migrants. In his message for the 104th World Day for Migrants and Refugees (January 14, 2018) he affirmed the need for a shared response to migrants described to four verbs: welcome, protect, promote, and integrate. He has continued to remind the world of the human face of migration.

“I would like to point out that the issue of migration is not simply one of numbers, but of persons, each with his or her own history, culture, feelings, and aspirations…,” the Pope said June 14, 2018, in his message to Second Holy See-Mexico Conference on International Migration.

“These persons, our brothers, and sisters need “ongoing protection”, independently of whatever migrant status they may have,” the Pope continued. “Their fundamental rights and their dignity need to be protected and defended. Particular concern must be shown for migrant children and their families, those who are victims of human trafficking rings, and those displaced due to conflicts, natural disasters, and persecution.”

Message of the Holy Father to Participants in ‘Meal of Encounter’

Dear brothers and sisters,

With this message, I wish to encourage you to continue your journey with migrants and refugees, and to share a meal with them, like the one organized here by Caritas.

As Caritas, you have accepted the invitation to launch a global level awareness-raising initiative in support of migrants and refugees: it is the “Sharing the Journey” campaign, which we inaugurated together 27 September last. Today, I would like to invite you all – migrants, refugees, Caritas workers, and institutions – to identify the traits of this journey that have had the most impact on you: what hope inspires your path? Try to share this thought and to “celebrate” what we have in common.

I wish, finally, to encourage you in Caritas, the community of faithful with its pastors, and all people of good will, always to create new spaces for sharing, so that from our encounters a renewed fraternity with migrants and refugees may emerge.

I heartily bless your soup kitchen, and I wish you a good lunch.

From the Vatican, 19 June 2018

FRANCIS

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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