Vatican hosts conference on migrants and refugees

The Holy See has announced that the 6th World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees will be held in the Vatican from November 9 to 12. The event has as its theme: “A pastoral response to the phenomenon of migration in the era of globalization. Five years after the Instruction Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi.”

A press conference announcing the conference was attended by Archbishops Antonio Maria Veglio and Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and by Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, under secretary of the same council.

“Globalization,” said Archbishop Veglio, “has created a new labor market and, consequently, forced many to emigrate, also in order to flee from poverty, misery, natural catastrophes and local and international conflicts, as well as from political or religious persecution. This has opened markets to international intervention, but it has not torn down the walls of national boundaries to allow the free circulation of people, even with due respect for the sovereignty of States and their constitutional charters, safeguarding legality and security.”

“Specific pastoral care in relation to migrants is summarized in the value of welcome. This must be shown to people of various nationalities, ethnicity and religion and helps to make the authentic face of the Church visible. For such a pastoral care to be effective, co-operation between the migrants’ Churches of origin, transit and arrival is fundamental”.

“The present globalized world,” he concluded, “calls the Church to face, day by day, the causes of migration and the consequences it has in the lives of migrants and local people. The Church is close to migrants, especially to the victims of human trafficking, to refugees, to asylum seekers, and to the people who undergo the drama of human mobility. She is called to defend their cause in various contexts, also through collaboration in promoting adequate laws, at the local and international levels, that favor proper integration”.

For his part, Archbishop Marchetto outlined the program of the forthcoming congress, which will begin on Nov. 9th with Mass in the Vatican Basilica presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. During the opening session the participants will be received in audience by the Holy Father, while the afternoon of the first day will be dedicated to the theme of population movements, both as cause and effect of globalization.

The morning of Nov. 10th will be devoted to the question of youth pastoral care among migrants and refugees, and co-operation with Churches of origin and arrival. The afternoon of Nov. 10th and the morning of Nov. 11th will be dedicated to the subject of dialogue and collaboration as they relate to the theme of the congress.

Also on Nov. 11th attention will turn to the questions of the “needs and challenges of ecumenical and inter-religious co-operation in the current situation of migrants and refugees (experience of the ecclesial movements)”, and “co-operation between the Church and civil institutions for the well-being of migrants and refugees.” The afternoon of the same day will see a round table discussion on “the pastoral care of migrants and refugees in prison and in detention camps.” The day will conclude with the Festival of Peoples.

The congress will come to a close on 12 November with the presentation of the final document.

Msgr. Rugambwa’s remarks focused on the participants in the congress who will number 320 and include members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, delegates from episcopal commissions on all continents, members of religious congregations and institutes, ecclesial associations and movements. Four fraternal delegates are also due to participate, from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Anglican Communion, the World Council of Churches, and the World Lutheran Federation.

Msgr. Rugambwa also announced that the congress will be attended by the director general of the International Organisation for Migration, and by representatives from the UN High Commission for Refugees and from the International Labour Office. Delegates from international Catholic organisations such as Caritas Internationalis have also been invited to attend.

%d bloggers like this: