The Catholic Church has been celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) since 1914. It is always an occasion to express concern for different vulnerable people on the move; to pray for them as they face many challenges; and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.
For 2020, Pope Francis has chosen the theme “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee”, with a focus on the need for the pastoral care of internally displaced persons.
This year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be marked on Sunday 27 September.
Message of Pope Francis for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees
The theme chosen by the Holy Father for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees is “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee”. In his message the Holy Father says:
“Displaced people offer us this opportunity to meet the Lord, “even though our eyes find it hard to recognize him: his clothing in tatters, his feet dirty, his face disfigured, his body wounded, his tongue unable to speak our language” (Homily, 15 February 2019). We are called to respond to this pastoral challenge with the four verbs I indicated in my Message for this Day in 2018: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. To these words, I would now like to add another six pairs of verbs that deal with very practical actions and are linked together in a relationship of cause and effect:
You have to know in order to understand.
It is necessary to be close in order to serve.
In order to be reconciled, we need to listen.
In order to grow, it is necessary to share.
We need to be involved in order to promote.
It is necessary to cooperate in order to build.
You can read Pope’s Francis’ explanation of these practical actions of cause and effect in his full message which can be downloaded here.
WDMR Prayer 2020 by Pope Francis – ‘To share in order to grow’
An Immigrant Prayer
our journey through life is long and hard.
We cannot make this trip alone;
we must walk together on the journey.
You promised to send us a helper, your Spirit.
Help us to see your Spirit in those you send to journey with us.
In the refugee family, seeking safety from violence, let us see your Spirit.
In the migrant worker, bringing food to our tables, let us see your Spirit.
In the asylum seeker, seeking justice for himself and his family, let us see your Spirit.
In the unaccompanied child, traveling in a dangerous world, let us see your Spirit.
Teach us to recognise that as we walk with each other, you are present.
Teach us to welcome not only the strangers in our midst but the gifts they bring as well:
the invitation to conversion, communion, and solidarity.
This is the help you have sent:
we are not alone.
We are together on the journey,
and for this we give you thanks.