Each year, the church around the world joins with the Pope to mark the World Day for Migrants and Refugees.
The Church has been celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees since 1914. It is always an occasion to express concern for many different vulnerable people on the move; to pray for the challenges and increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.
This year’s celebration is being held on Sunday 27th September and Pope Francis has chosen the theme: “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee”
In his message for the day, Pope Francis invites us to focus on the pastoral care of internally displaced persons, the experiences of whom are an often unseen tragedy that the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated. He reflects on the fact that Jesus himself faced the uncertainty and tragedy of being forced to flee that we see so many experience in the world today. We are reminded that through His flight to Egypt, God has united himself in a unique way to refugees and forcibly displaced people.
Through welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating internally displaced persons, Pope Francis encourages us to realise that ‘In each of these people, forced to flee to safety, Jesus is present as he was at the time of Herod. In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help.’
This year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be marked on Sunday 27th September and many will be celebrating the day around the world. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, large gatherings within parishes and communities will be limited however there are still many ways in which you can join us in marking the day. Below are some suggestions for what you can do.
"In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help." - Pope Francis
The Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section have produced a series of videos, bringing the Pope’s message for this year to life. Click on the links below to view the videos on each theme.
Video 1: “To know in order to understand”
Video 2: “To be close in order to serve”
Video 3: “To listen in order to be reconciled”
Video 4: “To share in order to grow”
Video 5: “To involve in order to promote”
Video 6: “To collaborate in order to build”
Watch Sarah Teather Director of JRS UK, and our friend Ben from JRS UK’s group ‘Refugees Call for Change’ in conversation with Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees, in a special online event hosted by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales for WDMR2020.
The Migrants and Refugees Section also offer free, prayer resources designed for the day and the weeks surrounding it. Click on the links below for specific resources.
Sit and reflect on the words of the Holy Father.
There are many ways you can help support the work of JRS and play a crucial role in welcoming destitute and detained refuges here in the UK, who are subjected to the hostile environment policies.
Read Nick’s blog on the Pope’s message and the work of JRS UK
One of the important aspects of the day is to bring in to focus a group of people who are often made to feel marginalised. Why not share a positive message of support to express solidarity for migrants and refugees on social media?
You can find us on:
Download visual resources you can share online by visiting the Vaticans Migrant and Refugee Section website
““I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). It is not just about migrants: it is about the whole person, about all people. In Jesus’ words, we encounter the very heart of his mission: to see that all receive the gift of life in its fullness, according to the will of the Father. In every political activity, in every programme, in every pastoral action we must always put the person at the centre, in his or her many aspects, including the spiritual dimension.” – Pope Francis
Read previous messages in full through the links below.