VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a summary of the thought, work and changes in the Pontifical Council of Migrants and Travelers since the last plenary session of the dicastery. The address was given by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the council, at the May 26-28 plenary session on the theme “The Pastoral Care of Human Mobility today in the context of co-responsibility with States and International Organizations.”
* * *
On February 28th, 2009, the Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, as President of this Pontifical Council, for having reached the age limit and the Holy Father called His Excellency Msgr. Antonio Maria Vegliò to succeed him. Archbishop Vegliò, Tit. Archbishop of Eclano, was, until then, Secretary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.
Later exactly on February 6th, 2010, the Holy Father named the Undersecretary of this Dicastery, Rev. Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, as Apostolic Nuncio in São Tomé and Príncipe, and also in Angola immediately afterwards, elevating him to the rank of tit. Archbishop of Tagaria.
Last May 6th , the Holy Father named Rev. Fr. Gabriel Ferdinando Bentoglio, C.S., as the new Under-Secretary of the Dicastery.
New Members of the Dicastery
On June 12th, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI named Member of this Dicastery His Eminence Cardinal DANIEL NICHOLAS DINARDO, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston (USA).
Later, on the 14th of the same month, he added the following Cardinals among the Members of the Dicastery, that is their Eminencies
— GABRIEL ZUBEIR WAKO, Archbishop of Khartoum (Sudan);
— ANDRÉ VINGT-TROIS, Archbishop of Paris (France) and
— His Beatitude ANTONIOS NAGUIB, Patriarch of Alexandria, of the Copts (Egypt).
Moreover, he also named among them their Excellencies
— PAUL R. RUZOKA, Archbishop of Tabora (Tanzania) and
— PAUL HINDER, OFMCap., tit. Bishop of Macon, Apostolic Vicar of Arabia (United Arab Emirates).
The following November 11th, the Pope confirmed the charge of His Eminence Cardinal KEITH MICHAEL PATRICK O’BRIEN, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh (Scotland), as Member of this Dicastery.
Before, on May 26th 2008, His Holiness confirmed the appointment of the following Consultors:
— Msgr. ROBERTO A. ESPENILLA (Philippines);
— Fr. CYRIL VASIL’, SJ, (Slovakia) and
— Bro. ANTHONY ROGERS, FSC (Malaysia), while on September 3rd, 2009, the Holy Father confirmed the appointment of the following as Consultors, ad aliud quinquennium:
— Mr. Lloyd John Sackey (Ghana),
— Mr. Roberto José Zepeda (Australia),
— Mr. Rolando G. Cobián Suárez (Cuba), and
— Ms. Margret Bretzel (Germany),
— Ms. Alžbeta Koválová (Slovakia),
— Ms. Brigitte Proksch (Austria) and
— Ms. Chiara Amirante (Italy).
Among the members of the Dicastery, it is sad to remember the death of His Excellency Msgr. Josef Voss, Auxiliary Bishop of Münster, R.I.P., last December 16th. He was a generous “Simon of Cyrene” in various meetings that we organized. Also, the following have left their charge: Their Excellencies Monsignori Francesco Monterisi, named Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Agostino Gianfranco Gardin, now Archbishop-Bishop of Treviso, and Giampaolo Crepaldi, actually Archbishop-Bishop of Trieste.
Moreover the following have ceased to be our Consultors: Rev. Fr. Vasil’ Cyril, S.I., nominated Secretary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, Rev. Msgr. Guerino Di Tora, now Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, as well as Commodore Christopher York, whose term has expired, and Msgr. Aldo Giordano, new Holy See Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg.
Personnel of the Pontifical Council
On November 20th, 2008, at the end of his mandate as Official-in-charge of the Sector of the Apostleship of the Sea, Rev. Msgr. Jacques Harel returned to his Diocese of Port-Louis in the Mauritius Islands, while Rev. Fr. Gabriele Bentoglio, C.S. left the Pontifical Council due to his Congregation’s needs.
Rev. Jeremy Fairhead, of the Archdiocese of Westminster, was first hired on probation as Official-in-charge of the Sector on Foreign Students and the Pastoral Care of the Road, a charge that he left at the end of last March, with his return to his particular Church.
In the meantime, Ms. Francesca Donà was definitively hired as Official assigned to the Refugee Sector, the same as Rev. Fr. Bruno Ciceri, C.S., for the Sector on the Apostleship of the Sea and Rev. José Brosel for the Sector of Tourism and Pilgrimages.
Besides, on October 1st, 2009, Msgr. Robinson Edward Wijesinghe was included in the organizational structure of our Pontifical Council.
II. The thought and the work of the Pontifical Council Driven by the pastoral solicitude of the Holy Father towards all those persons who wish or are forced to leave their native land, and towards those in itinere*, this Pontifical Council has continued to call the attention of the universal Church and the whole world to the increasing migration phenomenon — which is in effect a macrophenomenon as Pope Benedict XVI defined it — to the precarious and disastrous conditions of many refugees, to the abandonment of people who live on and of the road/street, to the effects of tourism and pilgrimages, to the Apostleship of the Sea, to the hardships lived by nomads and the need for a specific pastoral care also for international students, as well as with regard to pastoral agents and passengers of civil aviation.
Inspired by this, the Dicastery offered its contribution, again in these two years, for the writing of the Messages of the Holy Father which involve the solicitude delegated to us, and sent its own Messagees for various World Days concering our work, that is:
World Days pertaining to our Dicastery
As in the past, the Pontifical Council offered its help for the Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. That of 2009 was the 95th and its theme was: “St Paul migrant, ‘Apostle of the gentiles'”. In the document, which was written also on the occasion of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul, the multifaceted figure of the great missionary was compared with the migrant and his condition, almost identifying this specific characteristic of his with the title “Apostle of the gentiles” (Rm 11:13). Thus, precisely in the thoughts and works of Saint Paul, the Holy Father invites everyone to understand the situations that migrants and refugees live and suffer, even at the present time.
The Document was present at the Press Room of the Holy See on October 8th, 2008, by H. Em. Card. Renato Raffaele Martino and by yours truly. N. 108 of our review People on the Move published the text in six languages, respectively together with the related presentations.
Again for 2010, as usual, the Dicastery offered its contribution for the composition of the Holy Father’s Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. It is the 96th and its theme was “Minor migrants and refugees”. On November 27th, it was presented at the Press Room of the Holy See by Their Excellencies Monsignori Antonio Maria Vegliò, President, and by myself, as well as by Rev. Msgr. Rugambwa, Undersecretary.
* * *
“Sea Sunday”, annual day of prayer and celebration for seafarers, took place on July 13th, 2008, with quite positive results in various parts of the world. The following September 25th instead, there was the annual celebration of “World Maritime Day”, proclaimed by the International Maritime Organization, on the theme IMO: 60 years at the service of maritime transportation. For that occasione, Archbishop Marchetto granted an interviewed to Vatican Radio.
“Sea Sunday” in 2009, instead, was celebrated on July 12th, with various celebrations including ecumenical ones.
* * *
In 2008 the Pontifical Council circulated a Pastoral Message on the theme Tourism faces the challenges of climatic change, in view of the celebration of World Tourism Day, which is held annually on September 27th, by initiative of the corresponding World Organization. On that occasion, I granted an interview-commentary to Vatican Radio, to reiterate the importance of protecting creation, a gift of God to man, threatened also by the tourist industry, and to encourage a culture of responsible tourism also in relation to the future generations.
In the same year, the Dicastery offered its support in preparing for the Audience that the Holy Father granted to a group from the Centre for Youth Tourism (CTG) and to the Interntional Office for Social Tourism (BITS), exactly on September 27th, in Castel Gandolfo. In his address to the Pope, Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino gave a reflection on the theme of the World Day. Then, in the afternoon, I spoke at the Round Table promoted by the Centre for Youth Tourism and gave a commentary on the pastoral message prepared by this Dicastery.
In 2009, the Pontifical Council also diffused a document in view of the celebration of the World Day of Tourism. The theme, Tourism, a celebration of diversity, examined more deeply a reality that is being perceived more and more in globalized societies and is referred to as one of the driving forces of tourism, inasmuch as it brings in contact with one another different ways of living, different religions and histories.
* * *
In 2009, during the Angelus prayer of Novembre 15th, on the occasion of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, the Holy Father made an anxious appeal, calling to mind the deaths that occur due to road accidents and entruted those who have died to God’s mercy. He encouraged all those who drive through the roads in the world to be prudent, with a spirit of responsibility, for the gift of one’s own health and life and those of others.
Instructions to the Apostolic Nuncios
Also in the year 2008, the Dicastery prepared the Instructions that the Superiors deemed opportune to send to the Secretariat of State, at its request, for the new Pontifical Representatives (they were 28), regarding the pastoral situation with respect to the various dimensions of human mobility in the destination countries. It was the occasion to start with them a dialogue that also took place at meetings during their annual stay in Rome, at the time of their vacation.
In 2009, the aforementioned Instructions for the new Pontifical Representatives (20) were again prepared. For this year, there have been 6 of them, so far.
Visits to the Dicastery
In the course of the year 2008, the Pontifical Council kept frequent contacts with the Episcopal Conferences of various countries and, individually, with some Bishops, with other illustrious persons and institutions, as well as with groups of visitors, priests, religious and lay persons.
Privileged meetings, because of mutual information and the planning of pastoral initiatives, were those with Bishops who came to Rome especially on the occasion of their “ad limina” visits. During that year, the Dicastery welcome Prelates of various Episcopal Conferences, among whom were the Latin Bishops of the Arabic Regions (Israel, Irak, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait, Syria, Gibuti, Jordan, Somalia, Cyprus and Palestine), of Ukraine (Greek-Catholics), Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Antilles, Cuba, Hungary, Albania, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Honduras, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile (cited in chronological order).
For other visits in the course of 2008 I will cross-refer you to page 114ff of People on the Move XLI (2009), N. 109.
Privileged meetings in 2009 were those of the Bishops of Iran, of Russia, Bielorussia and Turkey, of Nigeria and Argentina, of Perù, Venezuela, Vietnam and Brazil (cited still in chronological order).
For other visits in the course of that year, one may consult N. 112 of People on the Move (first issue in 2010).
This year, we have received up to now the Bishop of Great Britain, Scotland, Romania, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Niger, of the Scandinavian countries, of Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and of Belgium.
Since the last Plenary Session, the Pontifical Council sent many letters of communion under singular circumstances. For those who wish to know the text and addressees of the messages, please refer to People on the Move XLI (2009), N. 109, pp. 118-122 and to this year’s first issue of our review.
Another chapter of our activities is regarding Inter-ecclesial collaboration.
With regards to migrants
Let me call to mind that on June 20th, 2008, I gave a talk at the Pastoral Forum in Luxembourg, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the pastoral service for migrants in that Archdiocese, which is, I believe, the ecclesiastical district with the highest percentage of immigrants.
In September, I solemnly celebrated the Holy Eucharist in Prato on the occasion of the feast of their holy patron on the Nativity of Mary. That diocese is particularly praiseworthy in what concerns the pastoral care of migrants, especially Chinese.
Later, from November 19th to 22nd, I took part in the Seminar entitled “I was a stranger and you welcome me. Migration as a new space of evangelization and solidarity”, promoted jointly by the Council of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe (CCEE) and the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), in Liverpool. The Meeting tackled themes regarding emigration from Africa to Europe in the global context, migration policies, the pastoral care with respect to refugees and migrants workers and pastoral challenges in the context of multiculture and of a series of meetings intended to promote collaboration between the Churches in the two Continents. Moreover, the question of slavery in history and the “new slavieries” were talked about in a public discussion. I was one of the two speakers.
For 2009, it is worth mentioning my visit to 15 Catholic Universities in the USA, where I presented the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi and, at the same time, encouraged the carrying out of the pastoral care of foreign students, which was the primary aim of the trip.
Before that, I participated in the World Congress on the Family, which took place in Mexico City, from January 14th to 18th. I gave my contribution with a talk on “The Migrant Family”.
On the occasion of the XVIII Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, held in the Vatican from April 3rd to 5th, I gave also a talk on “The grandparents figure in the migrant family”. The context was the general theme of their Plenary meeting on: “Grandparents: their fitness and presence in the family”.
From June 2nd to 4th, there was a meeting of the Sections on migrants of the Bishops Conferences of the United States of America, Mexico and Canada, Central America and the Caribbean, on the theme “Migration: a space for a Church without borders” (Tecún Umán, Guatemala). There I presented a reflection on “Conciliar Church and pastoral care of welcome”, which I presented again at the III Brasilian National Meeting on the Pastoral Care of Human Mobility, in Brasilia, the following September.
On October 5th, I was instead in Vicenza, for a Lectio magistralis on the theme “The Encyclical Caritas in veritate and the pastoral care of migrants”. On that occasion I spoke about migration questions also to about 500 students of the city’s high schools.
On November 12th, in the afternoon, I participated in a meeting organized by His Eminence Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, where representatives of the various Episcopal Conferences were present, in view of the Jubilee of the Church in Vietnam this year.
On the 26th of the same month, His Excellency the President and Msgr. Under-Secretary were present at the opening of the Academic Year of SIMI (Scalabrini International Migration Institute), held at the Pontifical Urban University, here in Rome.
Moreover, the preparations have started for the Latin American Continental Meeting on the pastoral care of migration, in collaboration with the Section on Human Mobility of the Department of Justice and Solidarity of CELAM. It will be held next November from 17th till 20th in Bogotá (Colombia).
On June 18th, 2008, I participated in the Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (R.O.A.C.O.) where a discussion of the situation of Christian Iraki reefugees in and outside their country took place, while from the 15th to the 21st of the same month, Msgr. Rugambwa, Undersecretary, took part in the Annual Regional Conference for Refugees, organized by the IMBISA (Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa) Refugee Service, in Gaborone, Botswana. The theme discussed was “Lobbying for Good Governance and democracy for participatory integral development of refugees, migrants and Internally Displaced People in their countries of origin and host communities”.
On the 27th and the 28th of the following November, I was invited by the German Episcopal Commission for migration to partecipate in its annual meeting, since special attention was given to the question of refugees and other forced migrants.
With regards to the Aposleship of the Sea
On October 25th to 29th, Rev. Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa was present at the meeting on that Apostolate organized by Section on Human Mobility of CELAM, in Callao (Perù). Its main objective was that of reinforcing the Apostleship of the Sea in Latin America and the Caribbean through the use of the network of the local Churches, the Stella Maris centers and the parishes, in the light of the Document of Aparecida and in the context of the related Continental Mission.
With regards to Tourism and Pilgrimages
In the sphere of the pastoral care of pilgrimages and shrines, I went to Zaragoza, in Spain, on September 10th, 2008, to participate in the Meeting of the Network of Marian Shrines of Europe. In my talk on the theme Petrine and Marian principles espresse in Marian Shrines, I underlined that they are true pillars in the proclamation of Christ, inasmuch as Mary did not only give us the gift of the Lord, but even now she leads us to Him by her example and her message.
The Pontifical Council participated in the First National Convention on the pastoral care of thermal tourism, which took place in Abano Terme (October 9th to 11th), promoted by the Church in Italy, i.e. the National Office for the Pastoral Care of Free Time, Tourism, Sports, and by the Archdiocese of Padua. Its theme was Water and spirit. Water heals, search of health, need for spirituality. In view of this meeting, the Dicastery called on the persons in charge of the pastoral care of tourism in Europe to have information on welcome put into practice in their thermal localities.
At the inauguration ceremony of JOSP Fest 2009, which took place at the location of the “Nuova Fiera” of Rome, from January 15th to 18th, organized by “Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi”, Rev. José Brosel participated, representing our Dicastery. This year, on the occasion of the second edition of JOSP Fest, the President, H.E. Msgr. Antonio Maria Vegliò, celebrated the Holy Mass in one of the Fair pavilions, at the end of which an audiovisual linkup with Saint Peter’s Square was set up for the recitation of the Angelus, followed by a greeting of the Holy Father to the JOSP.
Going back to 2009, the ecclesial meeting in the context of the “Borsa Internazionale del Turismo” (BIT) was held in Milan, at the location of the “Fiera”, in Rho, on February 20th. As usual, it was promoted by our Pontifical Council and the Office for the Pastoral Care of Tourism of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Archdiocese of Milan. Rev. José Brosel transmitted a message signed by Card. Renato Raffaele Martino, containing a greeting and a comment on the theme of the meeting Tourism faces the challenge of climatic change. Each year, on this occasion, the theme of the World Day of Tourism is taken up again. Thus, also this year, on February 18th, in the context of the “Borsa Internazionale del Turismo” (Milan, February 18th to 21st), Rev. Brosel participated in the ecclesial meeting on Tourism, a celebration of diversity, while on Saturday, February 20th, His Excellency the President Msgr. Antonio Maria Vegliò went to Milan, accompanied by Mrs. Margherita Schiavetti. In the afternoon, he celebrated the Holy Mass at the Cathedral, accompanied by Rev. Brosel, and the following day, at the Chapel of the Fair.
Regarding the Gypsies
The XXXIII Annual Meeting of the International Catholic Committee for Gypsies (CCIT) was hosted by the National Office for the Pastoral Care of the Rom in Croatia, in Trogir, from March 28th to 30th, 2008. The theme was on Being builders of peace before the anti-gypsy attitude that surrounds us. The Pontifical Council was represented by Rev. Sr. Halina Urszula Pander, AM, as an Observer. She read the message signed by His Eminence Card. Martino and by myself.
On March 20th to 22nd, 2009, the 34th Annual Meeting of the aforementioned Committee took place in Lourdes, at Cité Saint-Pierre. Its theme was “Minorities: vocation and dynamism in the light of the Gospel – reflection and formulation in the life of Gypsies”. The Pontifical Council participated once more in the person of Rev. Sr. Halina Urszula Pander, AM, as an Observer. She read the message sent by the Superiors of this Dicastery.
Last March 2nd to 4th, 2010 the meeting of National Directors for the Pastoral Care of Gypsies in Europe was held at our offices, on the theme “Solicitude of the Church for Gypsies: situation and perspectives”. The sessions started with the welcome address of the President, followed by my talk on the Situation and prospects of the pastoral care of Gypsies.
For what regards Circus and Travelling Show People
The VIII International Congress on the Pastoral Care of Circus and Fair People is in the preparatory phase. It will be held on December 13th to 16th, 2010.
This is an important chapter in our thinking and acting, but time is a tyrant. Those who want to view it may consult People on the Move, XLI (2009), N. 109, pp. 125-126, and also N. 1° of this year. He would then become aware that the various sectors of our Pontifical Council work in an ecumenical context, in ecumenical collaboration.
I would similarly refer to People on the Move XLI (2009), N. 109, pp. 126-127 with regards to the other theme, that is of
Inter-Dicasterial Cooperation and inter-Dicasterial relations adding, for 2009, our own review, N. I of this year.
Relations with International and National Organisms and Associations
Unfortunately, even for this small chapter, I have to refer you to People on the Move XLI (2009), N. 109, pp. 127-130, and to the first issue of the same review for this year, for what concerns Migrants, Refugees, Gypsies, and for facts related to Tourism and Pilgrimages. I will call to mind only two meetings, due to their importance, which took place in 2008 and in 2009, respectively in Manila and in Athens, of the Forum on “Migration and Development”, where I represented the Holy See.
Our means of social communications (Publications, Review, Internet, Bulletins)
The Review “People on the Move”, regularly published every four months, in 2008 and 2009, with Supplements. Basically they are the “Proceedings” of various international meetings of this Dicastery. The Review was also regularly published in the Vatican site: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/migrants/documents/rc_ pc_migrants.
His Excellency the President has decided that now, in 2010, the review will become a semestral publication.
Among the many activities of the Pontifical Council, also in pursuit of its commitment to assist and encourage the local Churches, especially in pastoral care and in facing the most harassing migration problems, I call your attention to comments and in-depth analyses published in the review People on the Move, as well as the publication of the IV and V volume of the Quaderni Universitari series. The respective titles are: “Strutture di pastorale migratoria” (Structures of the pastoral care of migration) and “Il macrofenomeno migratorio e la globalizzazione” (The migration macrophenomenon and globalization).
In the last two years, also the publication of the Apostolatus Maris Bulletin (a quarterly publication, in four languages) continued. It reached its 100th isssue (the Bulletin started in 1972), which took on a new typographical format.
It was instead difficult to publish regularly the Bulletin on the Pastoral Care of Tourism, Pilgrimages and Shrines, also in four languages (French, English, Italian and Spanish).
Also in the course of the last two years, serious questions related to our nine pastoral sectors and in-depth analyses of themes inherent in them (we consider our Dicastery a “think tank”) were presented within the Church and brought to public attention through interviews and articles by our President and by yours truly.
Concerning this, the usual electronic cataloguing of the publications continued, but it is not yet possible to open it to researchers and students.
* * *
I will now present here, briefly, the more specific activities of the various sectors of solicitude of this Dicastery, but it is necessary not to forget what has been presented up to this point in order to have a complete vision of the whole.
Sector of Migrants
It contributed to the organization of the African Continental Congress held in Nairobi on June 2nd to 5th, 2008, at the initiative of our Pontifical Council in collaboration with the Commission for migrants, refugees and marittime workers of the Episcopal Conference of Kenya. Its theme was “For a better pastoral care of Migrants and Refugees in Africa at the dawn of the third millennium”. It was attended by the three Superiors of the Dicastery. His Eminence Card. Martino, then President, illustrated the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi, which is the “best pastoral response also for migrants in Africa” at the beginning of the Third Millennium. On my part, I directed my attention especially to the new pastoral itineraries in the context of service to refugees, displaced persons and subjects of trafficking of human beings, while Msgr. the Under-Secretary highlighted more specifically the new slaveries connected with migration. All these are burning issues of current relevance, especially in the African continent.
Rev. Fr. Gabriele Bentoglio, C.S., took part, as our Observer, in the annual meeting of National Directors of Migration in Europe, held the following September 12th to 14th, in Vienna, on the theme “African migrants in Europe and in the Church. Pastoral responsibility.” There he read a message from His Eminence the Cardinal President, calling attention especially to pastoral assistance.
On Novembre 9th to 12th, 2009, the VI World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrans and Refugees was held in the Vatican, and it closed with the satisfaction of everyone. Its theme was “A pastoral response to the migration phenomenon in the era of globalization (five years after the Instruction Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi)”. More than three hundred persons registered at the Congress. The participants, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Religious Men and Women, and Laypeople, came from all parts of the world. In the course of the Congress sessions, it was reiterated that there is a need for a specific pastoral care for millions of economic or forced migrants, among whom there is a significant percentage of Catholics.
Sector of Refugees
During the first days of 2009 and 2010. I met the Persons-in-charge of the Refugee Commission of Malta, in La Valletta. We discussed the ways to facilitate the conditions under which to present the application for asylum. The country, in fact, is small and does not have big resources.
The sector collaborated in the organization of the Asian Continental Congress. The meeting was organized by our Dicastery in collaboration with the Thai Episcopal Conference and had as its theme “Towards a Better Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees in Asia at the Dawn of the Third Millennium.” It was held in Bangkok (Thailand) from November 6th to 8th, 2009. The sessions were introduced by Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, our President then, with an illustration of the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi, which meant to give a positive vision of the migration phenomenon and he invited the pastoral agents to re-discover and analyze in depth the dimension of catholicity, which, in its wider and more profound meaning, is the force of the Gospel, in the Church, to realize a universal communion, a unity without geographical, historical and cultural borders. At the Congress, I presented the new pastoral itineraries in the context of service to refugees, internally displaced persons and those subject to human trafficking.
On May 20th last year, I gave a talk at a Conference in Rome on trafficking of human beings, organized by the Pope John XXXIII Community, in the context of the theme “Sulla tratta non si tratta” (On trafficking one does not negotiate), which implies in italian a play with words.
On the following June 15th, still in the capital, H.E. Msgr. Antonio Maria Vegliò gave the Opening Talk of the “Congress of Religious Women in a network against trafficking”, organized by the International Union of Women Superior General and the International Organization for Migration.
Work in view of the new Document “Jesus Christ present in Refugees and other forced migrants” continued. It is meant to update the 1992 document entitled “Refugees, a challenge to solidarity”. Here a collaboration is going on with the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
Sector of Foreign (International) Students
At the request of “The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas”, I gave a talk on the theme “International Students in North America and Pastoral Care”, during a Seminar organized by the “Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities”, held in Rome from June 15th to 19th, 2008.
As an Observer of our Pontifical Council, Rev. Jeremy Fairhead participated in the XI Annual Assembly of the SECIS (Service of European Churches for International Students), on “Drinking of other wells. Spirituality and the International Students”, held in Ghent (Belgium), from the 10th to the 12th of the following July. The participants represented Austria, Belgium, Germany, Holland and Switzerland. Moreover, Rev. Fairhead attended the European Meeting of national delegates of university pastoral care, in Bucharest (Romania), from the 26th to the 28th of September.
At the invitation of Mr. Michael Galligan-Stierle, Vice-President of the Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities – USA, I gave a talk on the theme “Catholic Higher Education as an ‘Apostolate of Hope'”, in the course of a seminar organized by the “Association”, in Washington, from January 28th to Febraury 2nd.
Rev. Fairhead, in-charge of the Sector, at that time partecipated, in the International Forum of Catholic Universities, which took place in Rome from the 12th to the 15th of the following March, on the theme “Gospel, culture and cultures” – Pauline Jubilee of University Students.
Again at the request of the aforementioned “Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas”, I discussed the theme “International Students in North America and Pastoral Care” last June 2009, in Rome. The Seminar was organized once more by the Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities.
The Official-in-charge of the Sector participated also in the European Meeting of University Students, held on July 9th to 12th, in this city, on the theme “New Disciples of Emmaus: Being Christians in University”.
As an Obsserver of the Pontifical Council, Rev. Fairhead was present at the XI Annual Assembly of the SECIS, in Bonn (Germany), from July 16th to 18th, 2009. The topic was “Foreign students: gift or product?”. Those who were present numbered eleven from five countries.
On October 10th, 2009, again Rev. Fairhead took part in the VI European Day of University Students, which was crowned by the presence of His Holiness Benedict XVI. The theme of the event was “The Church in Africa at the service of reconciliation, of Justice and of Peace”.
On December 17th, finally, the then in-charge of the Sector and Sr. Assunta Bridi, Official, celebrated the Vespers with the University Students of the Roman Universities, in the presence of the Holy Father, at the Vatican Basilica.
Sector of the Apostleship of the Sea
On September 18th, 2008, His Eminence Martino participated in the celebration of the centenary of the port of Salerno and at the opening of a center for marittime workers there.
On the following January 16th and 17th, the regular annual meeting of the Regional Coordinators, presided by our President at that time, took place. After the presentation of the regional reports, with the help also of experts in the field, there was a fruitful exchange of ideas, particularly regarding the formulation of a Code of Conduct (Pastoral Orientations) for chaplains of cruiseships.
On the following day, under the Chairmanship of the Archbishop-Secretary, a meeting of the “Apostleship of the Sea International Committee for Fishing” was held. Present, aside from the Regional Coordinators, was Dr. John Withlow, in-charge of the fishing sector of the International Transportation Workers Federation (ITF), who presented the work done by his organization in this area. Moreover, Dr. Grimur Valdimarsson, representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), illustrated some interesting aspects of IUU (Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated) fishing.
From April 1st to 4th, 2009, I participated in the National Meeting of the Apostleship of the Sea in Italy, held in Genoa, where a research on “The wellbeing of the workers of the sea (A study on the transit of maritime workers in 60 Italian ports)” was presented.
On the following 4th and 5th of May, Fr. Bruno Ciceri, C.S., in-charge of the Sector, attended the sub-regional meeting of Atlantic Africa (in Abidjan, Ivory Coast), where he read a message signed by the Superiors.
On July 20th to 24th, he went to Cebu (Philippines) to partecipate in the Regional Meeting of Southeast Asia. There, special emphasis was given to the problem of piratery which is becoming more and more afflicting for maritime workers and their families. He read a Message of encouragement from the Superiors of the Dicastery on that occasion.
Subsequently, from August 2nd to 8th, Fr. Ciceri went to Durban (South Africa) for the Regional Conference of Africa and the Indian Ocean, with a message signed by the President and the Secretary of the Dicastery.
At the end of December, I spoke with the chaplain in charge of the Apostleship of the Sea in Malta who informed me about the maritime pastoral activities there.
From February 8th to 10th, this year, the annual meeting of Regional Coordinators was held in our offices. Mr. Tom Holmer, Administrative Officer of the ITF-ST was invited and he spoke about his organization’s new policy in distributing funds. In the context of this meeting, February 10th was dedicated to the International Committee of the Apostleship of the Sea for Fishing, in which I gave the opening talk. H.E. Msgr. Mogavero, Bishop of Mazara del Vallo, Mr. Doni Appave, ILO representative, and Miss Cassandra De Young, of FAO, were present.
Sector of Civil Aviation
On April 20th to 24th, 2009, the Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Civil Aviation Chaplains was held at the Card. Stritch Retreat House of the Archdiocese of Chicago, in Mundelein. Ms. Nilda M. Castro, Official-in-charge of the corresponding sector attended the meeting. The first two days were dedicated to a course on “Pastoral Crisis Intervention”, which offered the participants some tools for integrating the traditional psychological intervention in moments of crisis with pastoral intervention. The other days were reserved for the communication of news and for updating, as well as for sharing experiences in the different airport chaplaincies in the country. Ms. Castro read a Message of good wishes from the Superiors of the Dicastery.
Last April 11th to 14th, the XIV World Seminar of Catholic Civil Aviation Chaplains and Chaplaincy Members was held in Loreto, on the theme “Ninety years after the proclamation of Our Lady of Loreto patroness of Civil Aviation”. Participation in the Seminar was satisfactory.
Sector of Nomads
The year 2008 saw this sector occupied particularly with the preparation of the VI World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Gypsies, which was held in Freising (Bavaria), from September 1st to 4th. It was organized by this Dicastery in collaboration with the German Episcopal Conference, and was presided and directed by myself. Sr. Halina Urszula Pander, AM, our Official, also took part in the Congress. The 150 delegates (Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious Men and Women, Lay pastoral agents and representatives of the Gypsies), coming from 26 countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia, studied more in-depth the theme “Young gypsies in the Church and in society”. By this, the Congress wanted to underline the role that the young Gypsy generations can play in the human and Christian promotion of their own people.
Among the specific activities of the Sector, we call to mind particularly two pilgrimages of German Sinti, coming from the southern part of Germany. During their Roman sojourn, I presided over the Holy Mass, celebrated in both cases at the Altar of the “Cathedra” in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Sector of Tourism, Pilgrimages and Shrines
In 2008 and 2009, the activities of the Pontifical Council in this field was marked by some commitments, which I will indicate below.
I gave a lecture on the theme The Church and religious tourism at the Tor Vergata University, on December 4th, 2008, to the students working for a degree in “Master in Economics and management of cultural and tourism activities”.
Instead, in 2009, an European meeting on the pastoral care of tourism was held on April 29th and 30th, here in our offices. The representatives from 20 countries were together to compare ideas and experiences and come up with an updated specific pastoral care. The general theme was The Pastoral Care of Tourism today, 40 years from the publication of the Directory “Peregrinans in terra”. At its conclusion a good final document was published. It put together the fruits of the meeting.
The following September, and in collaboration with the Vatican Publishing House, a Compact Disc was produced, collecting the documents of the Magisterium of the Popes and of the Holy See on the Pastoral Care of Tourism (from 1952 to 2008). Offering this CD wanted to be a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the General Directory Peregrinans in terra and the 30th World Day of Tourism. The anthology is fruit of the work of this Dicastery over the years which has finished now with two versions: one with the texts in the language in which they were originally published, and another with all the texts in Italian. The anthology is a precious testimony of the constant ecclesial commitment to let the maternal presence of the Church be felt more and more in the important field of tourism, and illustrate the itinerary covered by its pastoral care, which has grown, formed structures and got updated, to respond to the ever new demands posed to the Church by the phenomenon of tourism, a true sign of the times.
From June 4th to 6th, the II Iberian-American Congress on “Religious Destinations” and the V International Congress of City Shrines took place in Ourém/Fatima (Portugal). Our President, H.E. Msgr. Antonio Maria Vegliò, accepted the invitation to be part of the Committee of Honor, while Rev. José Brosel participated in the sessions of the meeting, where he read a message of greeting on the part of the Superiors of the Dicastery and gave a talk on diversified welcome in holy places. The Congress intended to study in depth collaboration between civil and religious authorities and identify the special role invested on cities where a shrine is found.
From the 15th to the 17th of the following October, instead, the V European Forum on Social Tourism took place in Malaga (Spain). It was promoted by BITS (International Office of Social Tourism), and its general theme was Social tourism and the crisis: incidence and opportunities. Rev. Brosel was present and he read the message of the Superiors of the Dicastery to the participants.
The preparations for the II World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Pilgrimages and Shrines is well under way. It will be held in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) from September 27th to 30th, 2010, to coincide with the Holy Year of Compostela. The I World Congress was held in Rome in the already distant 1992.
Sector of Circus and Fair People
As always, including the last Plenary Session, our Dicastery, through its sector on the pastoral care of circus and fair people, organized (or participated in) various activities geared to promote and support initiatives and commitments of the local Churches in this regard, as well as those of associations and institutions that are active in this environment.
Among the initiatives promoted, we recall in a special way the Meeting of National Directors, held on December 11th and 12th, 2009. It was attended by ten of them, representing those countries where this specific pastoral care is organized at the national level. These are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America and Chile. The Meeting intended to identify the priorities of today’s pastoral care of traveling shows, so as to make service in their favor more effective. In the corse of the congress, the National Directors described their socio-cultural and religious realities and their conditions of life, and also presented problems and challenger that have to be met.
Sector of the Pastoral Care of the Road/Street
In 2008, the interest of the Pontifical Council in this sector was concentrated on the preparation for and realization of the I Integrated Continental Meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean on the pastoral care of the road/street, held in the offices of the Colombian Episcopal Conference in Bogotá, on October 19th to 24th. The theme was “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them” (Lk 24:15). Pastoral Care of the Road/Street: a walk together. Besides myself, the participants were Rev. Fairhead and Sr. Assunta Bridi, mscs, Officials of the Sector, their Excellencies Monsignori Víctor Sánchez Espinosa, CELAM Secretary General, José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, in-charge of the Sector on Human Mobility of CELAM, other two Bishops and a good number of priests, religious men and women, and lay representatives of different countries. Every day was dedicated to a category to whom the pastoral care is addressed: users of the street, women victims of sexual exploitation, street children and the homeless.
The final document of the Meeting was communicated to the press and was sent, aside from the participants, to all Episcopal Conferences and the corresponding structures of the Catholic Oriental Churches, to the Members and Consultors of the Pontifcal Council, to the Head of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, to the Embassies to the Holy See and to the Apostolic Nuncios. I am specifying it here to call to mind the channels we generally use to have our documents known, aside from the channel of the mass media.
At the Angelus of Sunday, July 6th 2008, the Holy Father invited everyone to pray for those who were going to travel for their annual holidays, so that they may travel safely, prudently and with due respect for others. Moreover, on the occasion of the European Day for the victims of the road, during the Angelus of Novembre 16th, Benedict XVI remembered “those who have died as a consequence of a road accident” and prayed for “their eternal repose and consolation for their families who suffer their loss”.
Both in 2008 and 2009, the Pontifical Council sponsored the programme promoted by ANIA (National Association of Insurance Companies), a foundation for road safety, called Vacanze coi fiocchi: “dai un passaggio alla sicurezza” (Exceptional holidays: “give a lift to safety”) .
In 2009, instead, the interest of the Sector concentrated on the preparation for and realization of the I Integrated European Meeting on the pastoral care of the road/street, which was held on September 29th to October 2nd. The theme was still “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them” (Lk 24:15). Pastoral Care of the Road/Street: a walk together. The Meeting saw the presence of National Directors, Representatives of Episcopal Conference and various experts, coming from fifteen European countries. A delegate of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta was also present, as well as other delegates from various associations and movements, congregations of men and women religious, including representatives of the International Union of Women Superiors General, of the Union of Men Superiors General, and of the Union of Major Superiors in Italy.
In March 1st and 2nd, 2009 I took part in a Conference entitled “ASECAP believes in European Road Safety”, held in Innsbruck (Austria). During the event, I gave a talk on “The pastoral care for truck drivers in Europe” and I celebrated the Holy Mass in the historical church Sankt Karlskirche, in suffrage for those who lost their lives in road accidents.
Moreover, on the following November 19th and 20th, I represented the Holy See at the First Ministerial Global Conference on Road Safety, in Moscow (Federazione Russa).
Finally, preparations for the First Integrated Meeting on the Pastoral Care of the Road/Street, for the continents of Asia and Oceania, is under way. It will be held in Bangkok (Thailand), next October 19th to 23rd, again on the theme “Jesus himself drew near and walked with them” (Lk 24:15). Pastoral Care of the Road/Street: a walk together.
* * *
Although it is long, the complete text of this talk, will allow you, who are closest to us, by the fact that you are Members and Consultors of this Dicastery, to know better its thoughts and action, in order to love it even more, as a painstaking and daily expression of the ‘sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum’ of the Bishop of Rome, in the specific pastoral care of human mobility, a true sign of the times.