Migrants and Refugees Still Challenge Us

It is now more than a century that the Church has dedicated a day of reflection and prayer for migrant humanity, wishing to draw the attention of the faithful, and of all men and women of good will, to this portion of the people of God on their earthly journey. Recently, however, every day of the year was marked by the phenomenon of migrations or of asylum seekers: millions of men, women and children, too often unaccompanied, are confronting us: in them, forced to set out on a journey without the certainty of reaching the desired goal, we are challenged to glimpse the familiar face of the Son of God and to do each one his/her own duty.

On the one hand many situations of crisis, indeed too many, persist, along with conflicts that do not allow “escape routes” within one’s country, on the other hand, there is a growing indifference and widespread insensitivity to the arrival of so many desperate people and often even to their dying just steps away from safety. As a consequence, this human tide is relegated to inhuman peripheries, increasingly more and more removed from our attention. “How can we not see in all this the effects of that ‘culture of waste’ which endangers the human person, sacrificing men and women before the idols of profit and consumption?”, Pope Francis asked himself pointedly last Monday in a speech before the diplomatic corps. 

In my view, the road to resolving this passes only through a side-by-side commitment to the migrant, asylum seeker and refugee, with a combined intervention aimed at facilitating their inclusion in society, making everyone able to share in building his/her future and totally rejecting a ghetto and de- humanizing culture. As missionaries, we try to meet migrants, asylum seekers and refugees on the several roads they cross, listening first to them, and, secondly, putting in place initiatives or structures. It is by doing this that the “casas del migrante” were originated along various borders, and we have created a networking system with those who, even in civil society, walk along paths similar to ours. With amazement we have seen grow and have fostered the participation of young people in local 1r.ltiatives of generous service as well as their availability in international volunteering; we saw with gratitude that many missions, born to take care of Italian immigrants, have accepted to be guided in being open to new migrant brothers and sisters.

» Hospitality and solidarity, after all, are the foundations of a strong culture and society and are signs of human and Christian maturity, which are essential for the real and tangible culture of encounter, so often invoked by Pope Francis, and able to prevent the risk of fundamentalism and extremism. The Holy Year of Mercy is for all of us the opportunity and the constant reminder to build up together a renewed communion with every human being migrating on this planet.

Rome, January 14, 2016