By Ann Marie Foley - 25 September, 2019
Welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants, Bishop Denis Brennan has urged.
“Our first thoughts and prayers are with our migrant brothers and sisters who live here among us in Ireland, in our dioceses, our parishes and most especially those in direct provision centres in our country,” the Bishop said in a statement in advance the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is being celebrated on Sunday 29 September.
Bishop Denis Brennan, who is chair of the Bishops’ Council for Immigrants, announced that a resource pack has been distributed to every parish in Ireland in preparation for the special day of migrants. The pack includes liturgical, spiritual and news resources for use locally before and during the Sunday Masses.
“I hope this resource pack will assist in raising awareness of the challenges facing our migrants and refugees in Ireland, and throughout the world. I encourage everyone to make use of these resources to reach out meaningfully and warmly in their parishes,” he stated.
He said that Pope Francis has chosen the theme ‘It is not just about migrants’ this year.
“In his message, Pope Francis reminds us that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved,” he said.
“We are all urged to adopt a decided stance and course of action summed up in four simple verbs: ‘welcome, protect, promote and integrate’.”
Pope Francis’ theme speaks to “all of us, and about the present and future of the ‘human family’,” Bishop Brennan said.
In his message published in May 2019 the Pope said: “The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media, is producing a ‘globalization of indifference’. In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion.”
He said that in this scenario as well as the hardships that migrant face, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills.
“That attitude is an alarm bell warning of the moral decline we will face,” he said.
After Sunday (22 September 2019) Angelus, Pope Francis urged those gathered in St Peter’s Square to pray for migrants and refugees and reminded them about the celebration of World Day for Migrants and Refugees. The Pope announced that he will preside over Mass at 10.30 a.m. in St Peter’s Square on next Sunday (29 September 2019) to mark the occasion.
Pope Francis has made the fight for the rights of migrants and refugees one of the focal points of his pontificate and after the Sunday Angelus invited everyone “to express, even through prayer, our closeness to migrants and refugees worldwide”.
Sunday’s Mass is organised by the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CEI) in collaboration with the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
In a statement, they explain that the day is an occasion to think also about refugees, internally displaced persons and victims of trafficking, as their well-being concerns all of us as individuals and as one human family.
In Ireland Father Alan Hilliard is speaking on this subject each day this week on RTÉ Radio 1’s A Living Word.
For Father Alan Hilliard’s reflections, see: https://www.rte.ie/radio1/a-living-word/.
Also see www.catholicbishops.ie for more on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and the full message of Pope Francis and the parish resource pack.
For full message of Pope Fancis, see: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-05/pope-francis-message-world-day-migrants-refugees-full-text.html.