Today on Perspectives, nuns and orphans are freed by their hostage takers in Iraq as the country’s stability continually comes into question. Cardinal George addresses the child migrant situation along the US-Mexico border and a look at the launch of the website for Pope Francis’ visit to Korea next month.
In 2012 about 14 million refugees and 28.8 million internally displaced migrant were registered in the world. This week theVatican issued guidelines to for the pastoral care of Migrants and Refugees.
The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People released the document with guidelines for the providing pastoral care to refugees and forced migrants, June 5. The document was written in collaboration with the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the church’s charity arm.
The last time the council for migrants issued a set of guidelines was 1992. Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the council, told journalists at a press conference the reasons people migrate or seek refuge today are much different than when the last guidelines were published.
Refugees are considered those who are forced to leave their country due to the political situation: civil war, or violence and persecution. Forced migrants are those who leave their country because there is no work in the home country and no way no make a living, according to Bishop Joseph Kalathimparambil of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants told Salt + Light June 4.
The Pastoral Council for Migrants is one of several Catholic organizations that serve migrants and refugees. Other organizations include:
The International Catholic Migrant Commission, founded after World War II to support people needing refuge and resettlement. Today the organization is involved in policy building work, and collaborates with various international bodies to promote the importance of family unity in resettlement and help find durable resettlement solutions. The ICMC also work with international organizations to help resettle refugees.
Caritas Internationalis was founded in 1951, with the help of then-monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, later Pope Paul VI. The idea was to create a network of aid organizations around the world. Today there are 165 member organizations in the Caritas network that provide aid to people affected by natural disasters and humanitarian crises, and support he vulnerable in developed nations. Some operate under the name “Caritas” others have a different name, like Trocaire in Ireland, or Catholic Relief Services in the United States. Caritas is considered the largest, most extensive humanitarian aid network in the world.
Jesuit Refugee Services works in accompanying, serving and advocating for refugees and forcibly displaced persons. Founded by the Jesuit order in 1980, JRS has programs in 50 countries and a Refugee Research Centre at Oxford University. The organization coordinates programs in those 50 countries from its head office in Rome, at the Jesuit General Curia. Programs include education, emergency assistance, healthcare, and social services. JRS works both with refugees and those who are marginalized in their own country.
For more information on any of these organizations visit their website:
International Catholic Migrant Commission
Jesuit Refugee Services
There are a lot of reasons to leave the land where one was born. Today the economic crisis is probably the main reason, but there are many others: war, natural catastrophes, or just the search for a new lifestyle. How do Catholic communities deal with this new reality of ministering to migrants in places where the faith is lived in a different way from what they’re used to.
For Catholics, migration implies two main challenges: the first challenge is that the newly arrived needs to understand and adapt to a new form of living the faith. The second challenge is that the new community needs to make the newcomer feel welcomed and at home.
Having been through this, I think living in a new community implies adapting to the new reality while trying to help revitalize your new community by sharing your way of living the faith.
For the entire community involved, the whole experience of migration can be a lesson in the mercy of God. For the migrant, the new reality is so different from what they’re used to that being able to feel like part of a community is more important than ever. Making someone in that position feel welcomed is a form of living out what Jesus meant when he said if you help one of my little brothers, it is me you help.
While the receiving communities help migrants adapt, they too receive a gift in the process. In coming migrants need to be aware of how they can help renew and revitalize the faith life of their new community. Integrating Catholic traditions of newly arrived immigrants is the most obvious example of this. The Our Lady of Guadalupe procession in Los Angeles along with many Guadalupe celebration across North America show how new immigrants can inject life into a community that perhaps hasn’t seen that type of joy in faith in a long time.
Because migrants enter the country in many different ways, there are some new questions to deal with: Is it right for a Catholic help a illegal immigrant? Is right give for a Catholic business man give work to a illegal immigrant? Those are some questions we’ll deal with on this week’s edition of Perspectives Weekly with our guest, Most Rev. John Wester Bishop of Salt Lake City and former Chair on Committee on Migration and Refugee Services of the USCCB.
Join us for this discussion, Friday on Perspectives Weekly at 7 and 11pm ET / 8pm PT. In the meantime, take part in the discussion on Facebook.
Photo courtesy of CNS/J.D. Long-Garcia, Catholic Sun
Tonight on Perspectives: What did Pope Benedict XVI tell the faithful gathered at the Angelus? We introduce you to a Catholic philanthropist who sees it as his mission to share his riches. Also, the WYD Rio logo is about to be revealed to the world.