By Linda Bordoni
“It is not just about migrants".
That’s the theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, to be celebrated on Sunday, 29 September 2019.
The theme was announced on Sunday by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
As Fr. Michael Czerny SJ, Under-Secretary of the Section, which is headed by Pope Francis himself, explained, with this theme, Pope Francis wants to highlight that his frequent appeals for migrants, refugees, displaced and trafficked people should be understood as integral to his deep concern for all the inhabitants of today’s existential peripheries.
Fr Czerny explained that observing the Day and the Pope’s message aim to help us realize how deeply we are all involved, “as Christian communities and societies, and that we are all called to respond and to reflect how our faith life and commitments are engaged in responding to vulnerable people on the move”.
Seeing the face of Jesus in migrants and vulnerable people
Fr Czerny said that when the Pope reminds us, repeatedly, of what Jesus himself was saying with the words ‘when I was a stranger you welcomed me’, this is a very direct application of Our Lord’s words”, and that indeed, “when people are knocking at our door because they are seeking protection, shelter and a better future, we are welcoming Him: It’s very simple and very radical”.
Fr Czerny also said that in order to foster a fuller and richer celebration of the day, the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Department for Promoting Integral Human Development will be launching a communication campaign, during which it will be working with Bishops’ Conferences, Migration Commissions, Catholic organizations involved with migrants and refugees in preparing for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on 29 September.
“So, he concluded, we invite everyone to join us on social media, in reflection on biblical passages and on the teachings of the Holy Father’s and on other resources that will help us to celebrate this day with joy and with understanding”.