Migrants and refugees are a major issue in much of today’s world and a priority for Pope Francis and the Church. In words and deeds, Pope Francis has repeatedly shown his deep compassion for all who are displaced. His first visit abroad as Pope was to refugees on the island of Lampedusa. Since then he has chosen to personally lead a new office of the Vatican to care for migrants and refugees. He has called on all people of good will to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate migrants and refugees, and so to extend Christian friendship to people who, for many different reasons, have been obliged to leave their home and seek a new one elsewhere – maybe a very long way from home.
Pope Francis and his office have called on governments to provide safe passage and legal status for people forced to move and to guard them against exploitation. Migrants and refugees should be enabled to find work that occupies the skills and qualifications they already possess – there are doctors and nurses and other professionals among the refugees. Children and young people on the move must be given proper access to education and training – schools and colleges can be powerful points of contact and of integration with local communities. Pope Francis invites us to engage in a positive spirit of solidarity with migrants and refugees – in the sure and certain hope that everyone will benefit from it.
With every blessing,
Kevin Donaghy PP