Pope Francis has highlighted the plight of immigrants and refugees ever since he took office.
He says that Jesus, in his solicitude, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalised, invites all of us to care for the frailest and recognise his suffering countenance, especially in the victims of new forms of poverty and slavery.
The Lord says, ‘I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me….’
The mission of the Church, herself a pilgrim in the world and the Mother of all, is thus to love Jesus Christ, in the poorest and most abandoned; among these are certainly migrants and refugees, who are trying to escape difficult living conditions and dangers of every kind.
The Church opens her arms to welcome all people, without distinction or limits in order to proclaim that ‘God is love’.
‘Dear Migrants and refugees!’ he continues, ‘You have a special place in the heart of the Church. Do not lose your faith and hope! Let us think of the Holy Family during the flight in Egypt; just as the maternal heart of the Blessed Virgin and the kind heart of St. Joseph kept alive the confidence that God would never abandon them, so in you, may the same hope in the Lord never be wanting’.
Be with the displaced and the migrant.
Be with those who have lost contact with their families.
Be with those who long for a friendly face.
Be with those who long for a loving touch.
Be with those who are weary and find it hard to keep going.
Be with those who are cold and long for a warm fire and cosy chair.
Be with those who sleep on hard ground and long for a comfortable bed.
Be with those who have no home.
Be with those who are in hiding from violent people.
Be with those who have lost hope.
Be with those who have to have to leave their homes to look for a safer live. Grant them a safe journey and welcome wherever they go.
Be with those who have been trafficked. Grant that they might meet a compassionate person who will release them and give them back their freedom.
Be with those who are vulnerable and alone, especially children. Grant them protection from those who would exploit their vulnerability.
Be with us today and those we love. Help us to recognise you in all the people we meet, in the homeless, in the sick, in the needy, and in the stranger.
Help us to extend a caring hand to all your people so that we can build a better, just and caring world where all will be one.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’’
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