The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Caritas promotes message to journey with our migrant and refugee community

Event date: 
19 Jun 2019

Across New Zealand this week, Caritas is marking the National Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants on Sunday, 23 June. The day is set aside each year to fall as close as possible to the internationally celebrated World Refugee Day on 20 June. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has prepared resources for parishes and schools across the country to share the words of Pope Francis and encourage compassion and love in welcoming migrants into our communities. 

In 2017, Caritas Internationalis, the network of global Caritas agencies, launched a worldwide campaign, Share the Journey, promoting empathy toward migrants and refugees. “The future is made of us, let’s Share the Journey” is inspired by Pope Francis’ message during his TED talk in 2017. 

Pope Francis has continued to speak for the migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking who, he says have become “emblems of exclusion.” In his message for 2019, Pope Francis voices concern at an increasingly individualist society.  He reminds us that the future of humankind is up to us, not just politicians, leaders or big companies. He emphasises the need for each other. When it comes to refugees and migrants, the ‘other’ is not just a statistic or a number – the ‘other’ has a face. They are a real presence, a person of innate dignity. 

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director, Julianne Hickey says "Pope Francis is telling us it is not just about migrants. It is about the whole person, it is about all of us.  When we take care of others then we all grow.” 

As part of the Share the Journey campaign, CI launched a collage at their General Assembly in May 2019. The woman represented in the collage is Nasrin, 21, who works with Rohingya children as part of Caritas Bangladesh’s efforts to provide safe spaces. Nasrin represents the tenacity and tenderness of all the Caritas workers who accompany migrants and refugees. The collage features hundreds of photos of migrants and refugees, world leaders, and Caritas staff. It depicts that despite our differences, we are one humanity. Towards the end of the General Assembly, Pope Francis pasted in the wedding photo of his parents. His father himself was a migrant who came from Italy to Argentina in the 1920s. 

Ms Hickey, who was at the General Assembly says, “The call to action for us on this Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants is reflecting on how we might better ‘Share the Journey’ with refugees and migrants around the world. As Pope Francis says, our vision needs to include the verbs ‘welcome’', ‘protect’, ‘promote’ and ‘integrate’”. 

Resources for the National Day of Prayer for refugees and Migrants can be found at https://caritas.org.nz/parishes/day-of-prayer. 

For information, please contact Amanda Gregan at 027 9399 575.

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