Since the start of his papacy, Pope Francis has spoken passionately on behalf of “migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking.” In his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Jan. 14, 2014, he said, “Contemporary movements of migration represent the largest movement of individuals, if not of peoples, in history.”
The situation has only worsened since, from the unprecedented flight of people from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Syria and South Sudan, to the ethnic cleansing that has driven more than a half a million Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar into Bangladesh. In this year’s message, the pope reiterates his call for a shared response “to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate” migrants and refugees into host societies.
This past year, the pope assumed direct oversight of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. In September, he launched a global campaign by Caritas Internationalis called Share the Journey to assist families forced to migrate and to promote Catholic social teaching on refugees and migrants. And he called us all to support the United Nations’ efforts to draft by the end of 2018 two global agreements on migrants and refugees.
To that end, we are making migrants and refugees the overriding theme of Maryknoll magazine for 2018, just as peace and nonviolence was for 2017. For we remember, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, too, were refugees.
Lynn F. Monahan