A migrants holds Pope Francis' hand during his visit to Lesbos in 2016 A migrants holds Pope Francis' hand during his visit to Lesbos in 2016 

Pope’s Migrants Day message: ‘Better future must be built with foreigners’

Pope Francis releases his message for the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, slated for 25 September, and says humanity must build our future with the help of people who have left their homes in search of a better life.

By Devin Watkins

“Building the future with migrants and refugees means recognizing and valuing how much each of them can contribute to the process of construction.”

Pope Francis offered that encouragement on Thursday in his Message for the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which the Church celebrates on 25 September this year.

The Pope focused his message on the meaning of humanity’s “journey” in search of our true, heavenly homeland.

The Kingdom of God, he said, is already present in those who have accepted salvation in Jesus Christ.

As we journey toward the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom, every person must endeavor to undertake a personal conversion, so as to transform our world and help it “correspond ever more fully to the divine plan.”

God’s plan for peaceful world

Pope Francis lamented ongoing tragedies of human history, which remind us how far we have yet to go along the path toward “the dwelling place of God with humanity.”

“In the light of what we have learned in the tribulations of recent times, we are called to renew our commitment to building a future that conforms ever more fully to God’s plan of a world in which everyone can live in peace and dignity.”

The Pope said we can advance along that journey by seeking the “righteousness of the Kingdom” and accepting the “Gospel of love” in Christ’s salvation.

Migrants frequently face hostility as they cross borders
Migrants frequently face hostility as they cross borders

Excluding inequality

Concretely, said Pope Francis, all inequality and discrimination must be cast aside from society, and “no one must be excluded.”

“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 Pope added that Christians must build the Kingdom of God “with” those displaced from their homes”

“The inclusion of the most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in God’s Kingdom,” he said.

Caritas has long been active in assisting people on the move
Caritas has long been active in assisting people on the move

Willing laborers in building society

The Pope went on to say that building the future with migrants and refugees involves recognizing their value and potential in their new countries of residence.

As the prophet Isaiah foresaw in a vision, foreigners should not be considered “invaders or destroyers”, but rather as “willing laborers” to better society.

Pope Francis offered the example of history to show that migrants and refugees offer a valuable source of social and economic growth to their adopted nations.

“Their work, their youth, their enthusiasm and their willingness to sacrifice enrich the communities that receive them. Yet this contribution could be all the greater were it optimized and supported by carefully developed programs and initiatives. Enormous potential exists, ready to be harnessed, if only it is given a chance.”

Contributing to spiritual renewal

While presenting an immense challenge, migrants can also help societies understand the world better and contribute to spiritual growth, said the Pope.

Catholic migrants, he added, “can energize the ecclesial life of the communities that welcome them.”

“Sharing different expressions of faith and devotions offers us a privileged opportunity for experiencing more fully the catholicity of the People of God,” he said.

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Prayer and invitation

Pope Francis wrapped up his message with an invitation for everyone to welcome their brothers and sisters from abroad.

He also offered a special prayer to mark the World Day of Migrants and Refugees:

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.

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12 May 2022, 11:30