HONG KONG, September 27, 2020
On this World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees, Columban missionaries around the world lift up the cry of our sisters and brothers who have been forced to migrate beyond their home borders or within their own country due to health, social, political, environmental, and economic conditions. Their courage, faith, resilience, and hope are signs of God’s presence in the world and we give thanks to be part of their lives. As Pope Francis reminds us in his message to mark this occasion,
In each of these people, forced to flee to safety, Jesus is present as he was at the time of Herod…. If we can recognize Him in those faces, we will be the ones to thank him for having been able to meet, love and serve him in them.
We see every day the difficult and often tragic decisions people on the move are forced to make and endure from fleeing one’s home and family separation, to exploitative employment and inhumane living conditions. We condemn any abuse whether it be individual or systemic of all migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, trafficked peoples and internally displaced people. In this time of the pandemic refugees and migrants face even more uncertainties and are even more vulnerable. We add our voices calling for just and dignified legal and social policies and protections for all people on the move, especially those most vulnerable.
2020 marks the fifth anniversary since Pope Francis made an urgent plea to religious orders and every parish to open their doors and welcome the millions of people on the move. Building on decades of Migrant Ministry around the world, during these past five years Columbans have:
- Opened and sustained houses of hospitality, providing welcome, safety and essential life services to dozens of individuals and families;
- Advocated for comprehensive immigration reform, labor protections, and sanctuary;
- Provided education, pastoral and legal services for vulnerable migrants;
- Offered liturgies and spiritual accompaniment in different languages in various countries;
- Organized and attended public rallies and vigils in support of migrant rights.
To mark this year’s Day of Prayer, Columbans will remember in a special way people on the move in our liturgies and education programs. For example, in this Season of Creation podcast series Jubilee for the Earth, episode 5 in particular, explores how migration and biodiversity intersect. We also want to share with you various stories of Columban Migrant Ministry in this video, Concrete Hope for Migrants and Refugees.
We will never forget 2020 as a year of great suffering and loss for millions of people around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic. May history also mark this year as a special year in which the turning wheel of transformation pushed back the veil of injustice, violence, and exploitation to reveal God’s love in the lives of our migrant and refugee sisters and brothers.
In Christ’s peace,
Rev. Tim Mulroy, SSC