“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.
“Hope is what drives ‘sharing the journey of life’, as the Caritas campaign we are inaugurating today reminds us. Brothers and sisters, we are not afraid to share the journey! We are not afraid to share hope!”
A thousand Caritas supporters had traveled from all parts of Italy where they run local projects to help migrants and refugees. Some of those migrants shared Pope Francis’ podium and were able to meet him.
The pope made the ‘Reach Out’ gesture – which Caritas is placing at the center of its campaign – opening his arms out wide. ‘Reach Out’ is the symbol of a concrete mass action of meeting migrants, listening to their stories and sharing their journeys. Supporters worldwide are asked to perform the gesture in a social media awareness 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.