Caritas Athens

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14 JANUARY 2018: WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE 104th CELEBRATION

 

‘’Welcoming, Protecting, Promoting and Integrating Migrants and Refugees ’’

‘’Dear brothers and sisters!

“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).

Throughout the first years of my pontificate, I have repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty. […]

Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43). […]

In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.

Considering the current situation, welcoming means, above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally. This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families. […]

The second verb –protecting– may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status. Such protection begins in the country of origin, and consists in offering reliable and verified information before departure, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practices. […]

Promoting essentially means a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees -as well as the communities which welcome them- are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator. […]

The final verb –integrating– concerns the opportunities for intercultural enrichment brought about by the presence of migrants and refugees. Integration is not “an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their ‘secret’, to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better. […]”.

Vatican City, 15 August 2017

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

FRANCIS