Justice and Peace Issues
World Day of Migrants and Refugees
The 2023 theme for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) is “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay”.
This is the 109th observance of World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The Church has celebrated the Day for Migrants and Refugees since 1914, a few months before the start of the 1st World War. For many years the celebration has unified in the Church, with one theme and on one date – held the last Sunday of September, which this year falls on the 24th. The Catholic Church honors this day every year as a way to “express concern for different vulnerable people on the move; to pray for them as they face many challenges; and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.”
In his message for this day, Pope Francis focuses on “the freedom that should always mark the decision to leave one’s native land”. What can we do and what do we need to stop doing so that people are not forced to migrate? “We need to make every effort to halt the arms race, economic colonialism, the plundering of other people’s resources, and the devastation of our common home.” Click here to read his entire message.
We are currently in the midst of the largest forced migration crisis that many of us have ever seen. There are more than 100 million people around the world who have been forcibly displaced from their homes and this number has made a significant jump in the last 18 months due to the conflict in Ukraine, as well as growing political instability and natural disasters around the world
POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER for WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
God, Father Almighty, grant us the grace
to work tirelessly for justice, solidarity and peace,
so that all your children may enjoy the freedom
to choose whether to migrate or to stay.
Grant us the courage to denounce all the horrors of our world,
and to combat every injustice that mars the beauty of your children
and the harmony of our common home.
Sustain us by the power of your Spirit,
so that we can reflect your tender love
to every migrant whom you place in our path,
and to spread in hearts and in every situation
the culture of encounter and care.