Today as in the past, liberating the poor, the oppressed and the persecuted is an integral part of the mission entrusted by God to the Church.
Pope Francis stressed this today when addressing in the Vatican members of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), on the occasion of their Plenary Council, taking place in Rome from March 6-8. 2018.
The Pontiff thanked them for their commitment, which he noted has deepened, in response to the inhumane living conditions experienced by millions of our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters in various parts of the world. “Just as He did at the time of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt, so too the Lord hears their cry and sees their sufferings (cf. Ex 3:7),” he said.
Much has changed since the commission was established in 1951, the Pope acknowledged, noting needs have grown ever more complex, tools for responding ever more sophisticated, and their service increasingly professional. “Thanks be to God, none of these changes has lessened the Commission’s fidelity to its mission,” he said.
“The Lord sent Moses into the midst of his oppressed people,” the Pope said, “to dry their tears and restore their hope (cf. Ex 3:16-17). In its more than sixty-five years of work, the Commission has distinguished itself in carrying out in the Church’s name a multifaceted work of assistance to migrants and refugees in a variety of situations of great need.”
“The multiple projects initiated on five continents represent exemplary instances of the four verbs – welcome, defend, promote and integrate – by which I wished to characterize the Church’s pastoral response in the face of contemporary migration (cf. Message for the 2018 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 15 August 2017).
The Holy Father expressed his hope that this work will continue to inspire local Churches to do all they can for persons forced to leave their home countries and who, all too often, become victims of dishonesty, violence and abuse of every sort.
While praising all the commission has done, he stressed that the work is not over.
“Together. we must encourage countries to coordinate more suitable and effective responses to the challenges posed by issues of migration; and we can do this on the basis of the essential principles of the Church’s social teaching.”
Praying that the Holy Spirit to continue to enlighten all the commission members, as they carry out their vital mission of showing forth God’s merciful love to our migrant brothers and sisters, Pope Francis concluded, assuring them of his prayers and asking them to pray for him.
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