An excerpt from Pope Francis’ Message for the 51st World Day of Peace (Jan 1.)
In his Message, Pope Francis echoes St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, pointing to war, conflict, genocide, ethnic cleansing, poverty, lack of opportunity and environmental degradation as reasons that families and individuals become refugees and migrants.
Four “mileposts for action” are necessary in order to allow migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, trafficking victims the opportunity to find peace. These include:
- Welcoming, which calls for “expanding legal pathways for entry” and better balancing national security and fundamental human rights concerns;
- Protecting, or recognizing and defending “the inviolable dignity of those who flee”;
- Promoting, which entails “supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees; and
- Integrating by allowing migrants and refugees to ” participate fully in the life of society that welcomes them.” Doing so enriches both those arriving and those welcoming.
Pope Francis’ Prayer for Migrants at the Port of Lesbos, April 2016
Merciful God, we pray to you for all the men, women and children
who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life.
Though many of their graves bear no name,
to you each one is known, loved and cherished.
May we never forget them, but honour their sacrifice
with deeds more than words.
We entrust to you all those who have made this journey,
enduring fear, uncertainty and humiliation,
in order to reach a place of safety and hope.
Just as you never abandoned your Son
as he was brought to a safe place by Mary and Joseph,
so now be close to these, your sons and daughters,
through our tenderness and protection.
In caring for them may we seek a world
where none are forced to leave their home
and where all can live in freedom, dignity and peace.
Merciful God and Father of all,
wake us from the slumber of indifference,
open our eyes to their suffering,
and free us from the insensitivity
born of worldly comfort and self-centredness.
Inspire us, as nations, communities and individuals,
to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters.
May we share with them the blessings we have received from your hand,
and recognize that together, as one human family,
we are all migrants, journeying in hope to you, our true home,
where every tear will be wiped away,
where we will be at peace and safe in your embrace.