Holy See promotes culture of encounter with migrants and refugees
By Linda Bordoni
In his preface, Pope Francis reiterates his call to all men and women of goodwill to commit to the pursuit of universal fraternity because “we are all in the same boat.” He also recalls his Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees - "Towards an ever wider we" - that highlights how “The encounter with migrants and refugees of other denominations and religions represents a fertile ground for the growth of open and enriching ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.”
The document, released by the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, explores the challenges posed by the increasingly global and intercultural phenomenon of migration.
It highlights the opportunities offered by the assimilation and integration of diverse cultures into societies, affirming the Pope’s call to acknowledge and promote fulfillment in communion amidst diversity.
Pastoral responses and Good Practices
Divided into seven chapters, one of the document’s main purposes is to propose meaningful pastoral responses to the phenomenon of migration, as well as by good practices that are already in use and that have proven effective.
Fr. Fabio Baggio, the Under-Secretary of the Migrants & Refugees Section notes that the presence of migrants and refugees who belong to other faiths, or who do not belong to any religion, represents a new missionary opportunity for our Christian communities, called to build bridges by way of their witness and charity.
He explains that “the new Orientations are proposed to offer some useful recommendations for the development of an intercultural migratory pastoral care that better responds to the challenges of the contemporary world. They are born of the experience of the local Churches and are given back to them with some insights from the Magisterium.”
Speaking to Vatican News, Fr. Baggio also pointed to a separate attachment that presents a number of “good practices” that aim to be helpful in the realization of the directives provided by the document.
These include experiences and feedback deriving from a series of projects aimed towards the integration of migrants and refugees in countries as diverse as South Africa and the United States.
Ultimately, Fr. Baggio explained, the focus is on two dimensions: the first on the universality of the Catholic Church and on the need for all of its members to be open and inclusive towards each other; the second is a missionary dimension that asks us to present Jesus through charity and love for our brothers and sisters.
The Pastoral Orientations on Intercultural Migrant Ministry are available in English and Italian on the new “Resources” space of the M&R Section’s website, soon also available in other languages.