During this month in which Pope Benedict XVI in the General intentions for 2008 recommends that the people of God pray “that Christians may defend and protect refugees”, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, Manitowoc, WI, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, Green Bay, WI, the Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, WI and the Diocese of Green Bay invite you to virtually walk with them in an Immigration Awareness Pilgrimage, A Journey of Hope, Justice for Immigrants and Refugees.
On August 31, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared:
Migration has become an emergency in our times, and one that demands solidarity and effective political solutions…for their part, European countries, and all other countries that are the destination of immigration, are called to, among other things, develop through consensus initiatives and structures that continue to adapt themselves to the needs of irregular migrants.
The latter must be made aware, on the one hand, of the value of their own lives, which are a singular good, always precious, that should be safeguarded in the face of the grave risks that the pursuit of better situations exposes them to and, on the other hand, the duty of legality that is imposed on all.”
As the [Pope],” he added, “I feel a profound obligation to recall everyone’s attention to this problem and to ask for the generous cooperation of individuals and institutions to deal with it and to find solutions.”
Desiring to follow in the footprints of Jesus, reflect on the Holy Father’s words in the light of this Gospel passage from Mt.25:35-40.
For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to see me…I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.
How do we as Church respond to the needs of migrants and refugees in our country today?