Sunday, September 27 the day desired by the Church and dedicated to the vulnerable forced to leave their land is celebrated all over the world. The reflection of the Scalabrinian missionaries
Roma, September 21, 2020 – World Day of Migrants and Refugees is celebrated around the world on Sunday, September 27, 2020. Called for the first time by the Church in 1914 and celebrated on the last Sunday of September, it is an occasion to “show concern for the various categories of vulnerable people on the move, to pray for them as they face many challenges” (reads the site of the Migrants & Refugees Section, which in preparation for the event has prepared a series of videos with the invitation of Pope Francis to know more deeply the reality of the phenomenon). The Day is undoubtedly also an opportunity to overturn the vulgate of the phenomenon, showing its positive implications and opportunities.
An Unequal Fight
The 106th edition focuses on the pastoral care of internally displaced persons (or Internally Displaced People – IDP) and the title chosen by Pope Francis for his message is As Jesus Christ, Forced to Flee. “Forced because the struggle is unequal, the chances of surviving are practically null – we read in the reflection published by the Scalabrinian Directorate General, which we offer here and which is also available in the new issue of the Scalabriniani magazine (pp. 19-20) – Forced to flee, almost always within their own country, sometimes to a neighboring country. And too many times we remain on the run because the return is impossible. Displaced people, without a home, without coordinates where meanings are articulated and life acquire meaning.”
According to the Scalabrinians, there are three points in which a correct approach to migration is articulated, a phenomenon whose frequency is gradually increasing: study and analysis of the causes, intervention among the vulnerable, and overall attention.
A Schizophrenic Society
First of all, therefore, the reasons that push migrants to leave their homes cannot be ignored. “On this aspect, society suffers from schizophrenia. On the one hand, the knowledge that climate change is also due to human behavior is quite widespread. Young people, who will have a more ruined world than the one we know, have made their own battle. On the other hand, there are always leaders who deny the evidence in terms of immediate economic profits, and everyone, including young people, has inconsistent behavior. The images of rivers full of plastic remind us of it.”
Furthermore, not only is the direct intervention necessary among those forced to flee “as among those forced to remain due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, but also “assistance so that lives can be rebuilt and there is the possibility of an autonomous, sustainable path, without depending on assistance. It is in this sense that the congregation has acted in recent times.”
The Scalabrinian Initiatives
The reference is to Scalabrinian initiatives such as that in Haiti after the earthquake, in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, and again to those for Haitians in South America or Venezuelans in Colombia. “As Scalabrini saw in migrations, objectively a cause of suffering, the possibility of unexpected developments – concludes the Directorate General – we too must be alongside those who flee to help glimpse new perspectives. (…) The World Day of Migrant, which finds us almost everywhere stopped or forced to minimum activities, must be an opportunity to prepare to help those who will be forced to flee and who will be more and more in the future.”