International News

Pope Francis Invites Catholics to Join Him in Praying for Refugees This Month

A group of Honduran migrants walk across a railroad trestle in Huimanguillo, Mexico, March 30, 2021, on their way to seek asylum in the United States. (Photo: OSV News/Carlos Jasso, Reuters)

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis’s prayer intention for the month of June is for those who have been forced to flee their home countries “because of war or poverty.”

In a two-minute video released May 28 highlighting this intention, the pope said today’s refugees experience “the feeling of uprootedness or not knowing where they belong” and then when they arrive in another country they are often “viewed as threats with fear.”

The pope’s intention for this month coincides with the U.N. commemoration of World Refugee Day on June 20. According to the U.N. figures, there were 110 million people forcefully displaced throughout the world in 2023.

On June 3, the Vatican announced the theme of the Sept. 29 World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be “God walks with his people.” In the pope’s message for the day, he urged people to not to “become possessive” of the land God has offered as “a temporary home,” but to “keep walking, together with our migrant brothers and sisters.”

In the pope’s video, he reminds Christians that “whoever welcomes a migrant welcomes Christ,” and he also points out how this concept is often forgotten.

The pope’s message reiterates one he has often said throughout his pontificate: that migrants be accompanied, promoted and integrated.

He urges modern society to promote a culture that “protects the rights and dignity of migrants” and “promotes the possibility that they can achieve their full potential.”

In online resources that accompany the pope’s prayer intention, Jesuit Father Frédéric Fornos, International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, reiterated the importance of Pope Francis’ June message.

“Migrants fleeing from war and hunger, often survivors of desperate journeys, are the object of political battles,” he said, adding that it is “important to remember that they are not numbers or statistics; they are people.”

The priest added that instead of “treating migrants like a burden or a problem, we should find solutions based on compassion and respect for their human dignity.”

At the conclusion of the pope’s video he prays that “migrants fleeing from war or hunger, forced to undertake journeys fraught with danger and violence, may find welcome and new living opportunities.”

The pope’s monthly intentions, in which he invites Catholics to join him in prayer, are publicized through an initiative called The Pope Video spearheaded by a Vatican foundation called the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network which disseminates the pope’s intentions around the world in more than 23 languages.