Enclosed is a short reflection to highlight World Day of Migrants and Refugees – 15th January from Sheila Curran RSM, AMRI Justice Coordinator.
I am writing to highlight that this Sunday is World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This is timely for us in Ireland given the recent announcement by the Department of Justice that 80 refugees will be located at a hotel in Ballaghaderreen in Co Roscommon. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has also confirmed that 40 children will be coming to Ireland, who were previously located in the Calais refugee camp. This news received mixed reactions and provokes concerns many of which are understandable. Will there be sufficient resources to meet these people’s needs? Where will the money come from? There is also fear: Who are these people? What will they be like? Will they be able to integrate into our society?
Refugees are often seen as a problem rather than people who have been forced to flee their homeland because of war, persecution, climate change, or poverty. The majority of these people would rather live in their own homeland. They are not cause of the problem but are victims of a destructive world order where violence and war are on the increase daily. They have a right to seek asylum and to receive a welcome.
In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, God is reminding the people to “befriend the alien for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.” Indeed many of our ancestors were aliens in other lands as they too were forced to flee Ireland in search of a better life. As Christians we are challenged to move beyond just welcoming the stranger. Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that the stranger, “the other” is our neighbour (Luke 10:25-37) and we must love our neighbour as ourselves” (Mark 12:31). Pope Francis in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, focuses on the Child Migrants, who are particularly vulnerable. He asks us not “to tire of courageously living the Gospel.” This is our challenge.
So may we all continue to do whatever we can to show our love to those who are coming to our land. They challenge us today to live out the Gospel message in our daily lives.
Two resources which you may find helpful.
Message from Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees:
Parish Resource Pack for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2017 from the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference
Sheila Curran RSM,
AMRI Justice Coordinator.