AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson

Pope Francis on World Day of Migrants and Refugees: ‘Overcome fears’

Sun 14 Jan 2018
By Tola Mbakwe

Pope Francis celebrated World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday with a Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, encouraging people to not be afraid of meeting people with different life experiences.

He said we should “overcome our fears so as to encounter the other, to welcome, to know, and to acknowledge” others.

In his message to mark the day, the pope stressed the need to create a welcoming environment for migrants and refugees stating that:  “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.”

He proposed four action-oriented initiatives to respond to migrants: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.

He said that all immigrants should be “empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator”.

Pope Francis added that the Church is ready to take such steps but “political communities and civil societies” need to pitch in to for the initiative to become a reality.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales said the Office for Migration Policy will prioritise its work with the UK Government and other partners to create welcoming environments and provide well-resourced community sponsorship programmes in parishes. 

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