The Church has been celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees since 1914. It is always an occasion to express concern for many different vulnerable people on the move; to pray for the challenges and increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.
In 2019, the World Day will be celebrated on September 29th. Pope Francis has chosen the theme “It is not just about migrants” to show up our blind-spots and make sure no one remains excluded from society, whether a long-time resident or someone newly arrived.
Last Sunday, the Archdiocese of Vancouver celebrated the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Migrants and refugees are human beings, not numbers! There is a story, families, projects and dreams behind each one of them.
Taken from Bishop Scalabrini’s writings, behold how the idea of a Religious Congregation came about…
In Milan a few years ago, I witnessed a scene that left me with a sense of profound sadness. As I walked through the station, I saw the vast waiting room, the porticoes at the side and the adjacent piazza filled with three or four hundred people, poorly dressed and separated into various groups.
Their faces, bronzed by the sun and marked by premature wrinkles drawn by privation, reflected the turmoil agitating their hearts at that moment. There were old men bent with age and labor, young men in the flower of manhood, women leading or carrying their little ones, boys and girls – all united in a single thought, all heading to a common goal.
They were emigrants. They belonged to the various provinces of northern Italy and were waiting with trepidation for the train that would take them to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, from where they would embark for the distant Americas where they hoped to find a less hostile destiny, a land less unresponsive to their labors.
They were leaving, poor souls, some sent for by relatives who had preceded them in this voluntary exodus; others, without knowing where they were heading, drawn by that powerful instinct that impels the birds to migrate. They were going to America, where (they had heard many times), there was well paid work for anyone with strong arms and good will. It was not without tears that they had said goodbye to their native villages, to which so many tender memories still bound them.
I left there deeply moved….