100th World Day of Migrants January 19

by | Jan 19, 2014 | Justice and Peace

The followers of Vincent and Louise, Frederic and Elizabeth Seton who work with migrants and refugees throughout the world  can take courage from the message and actions of Pope Francis.
Sunday 19th January the Church marks the 100th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Pope Francis urged countries to welcome and respect migrants and refugees and not to treat them as “pawns on the chessboard of humanity”.
He also made a pastoral visit to parish of the Basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart which  operates an outreach to the city’s homeless and itinerant populations, as well as a centre of welcome and hospitality for more than 400 young refugees and asylum seekers from Somalia, Eritrea, Gambia, Cameroon, Ghana, Congo, Ivory Coast, Afganistan, Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan and Turkey. Listen: 
Located in the heart of the city, in the vicinity of Rome’s central Termini railway station, the Basilica parish serves one of those “existential outskirts” that Pope Francis has called on Christians in every state of life – and especially those in religious life – to place at the centre of their work and witness in behalf of the Gospel. The Basilica offers a range of services to the people it assists, from Italian language courses to driving lessons, remedial education for middle school equivalency, computer literacy, job training and placement.
In a world in which there are some 200 million migrants – 44 million of whom are refugees and internally displaced people – the Pope said “They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.”He also repeats his condemnation of “slave labour” and trafficking, develops his criticism of a “throwaway culture, and reiterates there must be a change in attitude on the part of host countries”.
In the Message, published in August of 2013, the Holy Father writes, “A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world.”