OFFICE FOR SOCIAL MINISTRY
“The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.’ Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.” (Matthew 2:13-14)
This excerpt from the infancy narratives of the baby Jesus is a vivid reminder of how the Holy Family was indeed a family of refugees — just like the 65 million people fleeing their homes today in search of peace, safety and security. Half of these migrants are children. In Pope Francis’ message for the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, he inspires and challenges us all to show compassion for child migrants, the vulnerable and the voiceless:
“The presence of so many brothers and sisters who experience the tragedy of immigration is an opportunity for human growth, encounter and dialogue between cultures in view of the promotion of peace and fraternity among peoples.” (Pope Francis, World Refugee Day, June 2017)
He asks us to welcome, protect and integrate these refugees saying: “May these migrants meet brothers and sisters under every sky, may they share with them the bread and hope of our common journey.”
The U.S. Catholic community endorses the U.S. refugee protection and resettlement program, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for more than 30 years as a humanitarian expression of our Christian and core American values. It is also a strategic tool to support key allies while stabilizing sensitive regions impacted by forced migration. The resettlement program is a small, life-saving program that protects and unites migrant families, assists with employment, transportation and education.
Once resettled, refugees are able to contribute to their new communities as friends and neighbors, taxpayers, workers, business owners, doctors and students. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposes any policy that would deny refugees access to resettlement based on their nationality or religion. The USCCB urges us all do something to accompany refugees, beginning by sharing the following prayer for migrants and refugees.
“Good and gracious God, we thank you for the gift of families. We are grateful for all of the joy and love that they bring into our lives, and we ask that you provide special protection for all families, particularly those who face hardships as they move in search of a better life.
“Show mercy to those who travel in danger, and lead them to a place of safety and peace. Comfort those who are alone and afraid because their families have been torn apart by violence and injustice.
“As we reflect upon the difficult journey that the Holy Family faced as refugees in Egypt, help us to remember the suffering of all migrant families.
“Through the intercession of Mary our Mother, and St. Joseph the Worker, her husband, we pray that all migrants may be reunited with their loved ones and find the meaningful work they seek. Open our hearts so that we may provide hospitality for all who come in search of refuge. Give us the courage to welcome every stranger as Christ in our midst. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen”
For information and a tool kit for sharing bread and hope with refugees on our common journey go to https://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/WRD-2017-Toolkit.pdf.
Your friends at the Office for Social Ministry