This year, National Migration Week is from Jan. 7-14. This week has been celebrated in the Catholic Church in the United States for over 50 years. It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, refugees, children and victims and survivors of human trafficking.
We are reminded with the theme this year that our families have all journeyed from somewhere to the United States, for the same reasons that many of these families today are leaving their homes. We all belong to the human family and, as Christians, should answer the call to help millions of people who have had to flee their homes because of war, violence and just trying to find a way to feed their families. We have to look at ways we can help the victims and survivors of human trafficking.
In Mark 9:37, we read, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me."
This past year, many people in the United States have lost their homes and belongings to natural disasters. Many people have come to our diocese from Puerto Rico because they have lost everything, and have asked for help from us. Many from our diocese have responded, and have been so generous to these brothers and sisters. We have responded with open hearts, welcoming them, clothing them and helping meet all their needs. Our diocese has been very generous in the support. I believe they now have a better understanding of what it is to go from having a good and stable life to uncertainty.
Imagine the families and refugees who had to leave their homes because of war. Some of them have ended up in shelters or refugee camps for years. Our nation has decided to not welcome some of them here. We, as Christians, have to find ways to do the same for the migrants, refugees and immigrants in our midst. There are many ways we can work toward making changes and being more welcoming here in the United States.
Pope Francis said, in his message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2018, "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 (Matthew 25:35-43). The Lord entrusts to the Church's motherly love every person forced to leave his or her homeland in search of a better future. This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience - from departure through journey to arrival and return."
There are a few websites that provide information on how we can help the refugees who so desperately need our support. They include homily samples, information on what we can do for DACA and sample letters to send representatives who serve us in Congress. Please visit www.sharejourney.org and www.justiceforimmigrants.org.