In his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees which is on 22nd September 2022, Pope Francis said history showed that new arrivals played a “fundamental role” in social and economic growth. In his 1,200-word message, dated May 9, the pope described the presence of migrants and refugees as both “a great challenge” and “an immense opportunity.”
God’s plan is essentially inclusive and gives priority to those living on the existential peripheries. Among them are many migrants and refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking.
The theme of the 108th World Migrant and Refugee Day is “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.”
In an extract from the full Message, Pope Francis writes:
The Kingdom of God is to be built with them, for without them it would not be the Kingdom that God wants. The inclusion of those most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in God’s Kingdom. Indeed, the Lord says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:34-36).
Building the future with migrants & refugees
Building the future with migrants and refugees also means recognizing and valuing how much each of them can contribute to the process of construction. I like to see this approach to migration reflected in a prophetic vision of Isaiah, which considers foreigners not invaders or destroyers, but willing labourers who rebuild the walls of the new Jerusalem, that Jerusalem whose gates are open to all peoples (cf. Is 60:10-11).
In the new Jerusalem of all peoples, the temple of the Lord is made more beautiful by the offerings that come from foreign lands: “All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you, they shall be acceptable on my altar, and I will glorify my glorious house” (Is 60:7). As we have seen, the arrival of Catholic migrants and refugees can energize the ecclesial life of the communities that welcome them. Often they bring an enthusiasm that can revitalize our communities and enliven our celebrations. Sharing different expressions of faith and devotions offers us a privileged opportunity for experiencing more fully the catholicity of the People of God.
Dear brothers and sisters, and, in a special way, young people! If we want to cooperate with our heavenly Father in building the future, let us do so together with our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees. Let us build the future today! For the future begins today and it begins with each of us. We cannot leave to future generations the burden of responsibility for decisions that need to be made now, so that God’s plan for the world may be realized and his Kingdom of justice, fraternity, and peace may come.
Lord, make us bearers of hope,
so that where there is darkness,
your light may shine,
and where there is discouragement,
confidence in the future may be reborn.
Lord, make us instruments of your justice,
so that where there is exclusion, fraternity may flourish,
and where there is greed, a spirit of sharing may grow.
Lord, make us builders of your Kingdom,
together with migrants and refugees
and with all who dwell on the peripheries.
Lord, let us learn how beautiful it is
to live together as brothers and sisters. Amen.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 9 May 2022