From the Pastor's Desk




MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES: MEN AND WOMEN IN SEARCH OF PEACE



1. Heartfelt good wishes for peace

Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence. Among these whom I canstantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention over the 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as "men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace." In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal. In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.

2. With a contemplative gaze

We must turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, "a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice" — in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace. When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them. We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees.

3. For our common home

Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II: "If the 'dream' of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees' and migrants' contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true 'common home.' Living in the inspiration of 'common home', we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in this year that marks the hundredth anniversary of her death. On this thirteenth day of November, many ecclesial communities celebrate her memory. This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters. Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that "a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."