By Linda Bordoni
In a message to participants at a lunch organized by Caritas Rome in the city’s main soup kitchen that caters for tens of thousands of poor people, many of them migrants and refugees, Pope Francis on Tuesday highlighted the importance and the value of “sharing” spaces, events and simple things like a meal, in order to overcome barriers and nurture feelings of brotherhood.
The Caritas lunch, organized as part of a Week of Global Action around UN World Refugee Day which is marked, each year on June 20, saw the participation of some 100 migrants and refugees together with the heads of Caritas organizations in Rome as well as ecclesial and civil authorities.
In his message Pope Francis said “I wish to encourage the Caritas family, the faithful and their pastors, and all people of good will to create ever new spaces for sharing” so that such meetings may give life renewed feelings of fraternity with migrants and refugees.
Continuing on the path
At the heart of the Pope’s message which was read out during the lunch by Fr Enrico Feroci, Director of Caritas Roma, was an encouragement to all to continue together on a journey with migrants and refugees by sharing meals and stories, and also by putting into action a series of everyday gestures to remind the world that “we are one human family”, that we need each other, and that together it is possible to create a “wave of solidarity” which is capable of moving the stones of indifference, prejudice and fear.
Journey of hope
Francis concluded his message with a blessing for what he called “this special table” and said: “You have taken up the invitation to launch an initiative to raise awareness on a global scale in support of migrants and refugees”.
“It’s the ‘Share the Journey’ campaign which we inaugurated together on 27 September last year” he said.
Today, the Pope added, “I would like to invite everyone - migrants, refugees, Caritas workers and institutions - to reflect on the instances of this journey that been most meaningful for you: what is the hope that drives you forward? Share this thought and celebrate all that unites us!”
Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees
To welcome, to protect, to promote, to integrate are the four verbs chosen by Pope Francis as he called for action in his Message released for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees marked in the Vatican on 14 January 2018.
These verbs were also at the core of all testimonies and speeches at Tuesday’s event which wrapped up with the testimony of an Italian family that spoke of how it was enriched by welcoming a young boy from Nigeria as part of the family.
You too can participate in the “Share the Journey” Global Week of Action by taking part in one of the many events and initiatives set up by Caritas organizations across the globe.