Pope Francis releases his message for the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is commemorated on Sunday, September 29, 2019.
The lowest number in the history of the U.S. refugee admissions program has been set for 2019 by the Trump administration.
In a video message two years ago marking the 35th anniversary of the Jesuit Refugee Service welcome center in Rome, Pope Francis spoke directly to refugees and said “Each one of you refugees who knock on our doors has the face of God and is the body of Christ.”
The U.S. has drastically cut the numbers of refugees it will accept, causing the reduction and closure of Catholic resettlement programs nationwide.
Pope Francis has kicked off a two-year “Share the Journey” campaign to encourage Catholics to break down barriers of fear and build bridges with migrants and refugees. In response, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for a National Week of Prayer, Oct. 7-14.
With millions of people fleeing violence, persecution and poverty around the globe, individual nations must expand options that make it possible for migrants and refugees to cross their borders safely and legally, Pope Francis said.
Within hours of President Donald Trump’s new executive order March 6 banning refugees from six majority-Muslim nations, Catholic and other religious groups joined secular leaders in questioning the wisdom of such a move, with others vowing to oppose it outright.
Indifference, fueled by populist rhetoric in today’s world, fans the flames of rejection that threaten the rights and dignity of migrants, Pope Francis said.
President Trump’s executive memorandum intended to restrict the entry of terrorists into the U.S. brought an outcry from Catholic leaders, who used phrases such as “devastating” and “chaotic” to describe the action that left already-approved refugees stranded at U.S. airports.
“Creating a Culture of Encounter” is the theme of 2017’s National Migration Week, Jan. 8-14, an annual observance the U.S. Catholic bishops began over 25 years ago.