Vatican News

‘To share in order to grow’ – Working together to assist internally displaced persons

Ahead of the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Eric Estrada Buenaño tells his story about being welcomed into a new family in Venezuela.

By Vatican News

On September 27, the Church will mark the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

The first observance of the Day was in 1914, just a few months before the outbreak of World War I, when Pope St Pius X called on all Christians to pray for migrants. In 2005, Pope St John Paul II announced that the World Day would be celebrated throughout the Church on the second Sunday after Epiphany; in 2018, at the request of various Bishops’ conferences, Pope Francis moved the celebration to the last Sunday in September.


In his Message for this year’s commemoration, Pope Francis writes, “God did not want the resources of our planet to benefit only a few. This was not the Lord’s will! We have to learn to share in order to grow together, leaving no one behind.”

Eric’s story

This week, the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has published its fourth video in a communications campaign to help spread Pope Francis’ message.

In the video, Eric Estrada Buenaño tells about his experience as an internally displaced person in Venezuela.

“I became a displaced person for several reasons,” he explains: “lack of drinking water and domestic gas, and insecurity.” He notes, too, that his home state “is remote and has always had problems with guerillas, lawlessness, organized crime and kidnappings.”

Like a second family

Eric has found a home with a new family, who have given him a place to live, shared their food, and helped him find work. “They are like a second family to me,” he says, “and [they] have assisted me enormously.”

“They have helped me grow in faith,” he adds.

Sharing makes us more human

Drawing on his own experience, Eric says, “There are people who need our help. Sharing makes us more human, strengthens our faith in God, and makes us feel like His children.”

But sharing, he says, is about more than simply sharing material resources: “It is also about sharing our life experience, our joys, love, a word of encouragement.”

“Everything that we can give will do good; somehow, it will help someone,” Eric insists.

14 August 2020, 11:40