Pope Francis: “Whoever welcomes a migrant welcomes Christ.”

  • In the June edition of The Pope Video, Pope Francis invites us to pray for the situation of migrants fleeing from war or hunger, that they might “may find welcome and new living opportunities.”
  • When we look at migrants with fear, the Pope says, “then the spectre of walls appears – walls on the earth separating families, and walls in hearts.”
  • Pope Francis recalls that “whoever welcomes a migrant welcomes Christ,” and asks that, in this sense, they be accompanied, promoted and integrated into society.

(Vatican City, 28 May 2024) – “For those fleeing their own countries” is Pope Francis’s prayer intention in The Pope Video for June, which is distributed by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

Walls on the earth, walls in hearts

The videomessage, produced in collaboration with Tele VID and with the support of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is a story about the borders in various parts of the world. Scenes show suffering faces, walking feet, bags filled with the little someone managed to take from home. But there are also scenes showing gestures of solidarity, hugs, welcome projects. The Pope reminds Christians that “whoever welcomes a migrant welcomes Christ.”

In today’s society, even in nations that call themselves Christian, this seems to be a forgotten concept. In fact, today, Pope Francis criticizes that “in some destination countries, migrants are viewed as threats, with fear,” which gives rise to the “spectre of walls – walls on the earth separating families, and walls in hearts.” But Christians, the Pope states, “cannot share this vision.”

Fleeing and uprooted

In recent years, the number of people who have been displaced has exceeded that during the Second World War. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in 2023 there were 110 million people forcefully displaced throughout the world. In this contest, Pope Francis asks that migrants be accompanied, promoted and integrated.

“The feeling of uprootedness or not knowing where they belong often accompanies the trauma experienced by people who are forced to flee their homeland because of war or poverty,” the Pope laments at the beginning of the video launched in the month in which the United Nations commemorates World Refugee Day (20 June). This is the reason he asks that “we promote a social and political culture that protects the rights and dignity of migrants, a culture that promotes the possibility that they can achieve their full potential.”

A global nation

The topic of migrants and refugees has concerned the Pope since the beginning of his pontificate. In the Apostolic Exortation Evangelii Gaudium (2013), he said: “Migrants present a particular challenge for me, since I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. For this reason, I exhort all countries to a generous openness which, rather than fearing the loss of local identity, will prove capable of creating new forms of cultural synthesis.”

A few years later, in the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti (2020), he invited us to have “a heart open to the whole world” and to respect “the right of all individuals to find a place […] where they can find personal fulfilment.” It also underlines the need to develop a “culture of encounter” in which there are points of contact, bridges and that the planning of projects include everyone. In this context, the video renews the Pope’s request to not be indifferent to the migration crisis.

God walks with his People

Consistent with the intention of this video message, each year since 1914, the Church invites us to pray for migrants on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. “God walks with his People” is the theme chosen for the day in 2024 which will be held on 29 September.

Cardinal Michael Czerny, the prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the World Day organizer, reflects, “Pope Francis reminds us that ‘God walks with his people.’ The Holy Family had to take refuge in a foreign land because Baby Jesus’s life was in danger. All of us are invited to welcome, protect, promote and integrate any person who has fled their homeland to save their lives or who are searching for a dignified future. By protecting the rights of migrants, the integral human development of every person is promoted and communities that welcome them are enriched in multiple ways.”

Nations with fraternal responsibility

Father Frédéric Fornos S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, reflects on the drama of migrants and states: “Migrants fleeing from war and hunger, often survivors of desperate journeys, are the object of political battles. It is important to remember that they are not numbers or statistics; they are people. Our personal and collective histories are marked by migration. Rather than treating migrants like a burden or a problem, we should find solutions based on compassion and respect for their human dignity. This vision is rooted in the Gospel and prayer and the Church’s magisterium reminds us of this.”

Father Fornos recalls Pope Francis’s reflection in Fratelli Tutti “The true worth of the different countries of our world is measured by their ability to think not simply as a country but also as part of the larger human family. This is seen especially in times of crisis […] Only a social and political culture that readily and freely welcomes others will have a future.”

The Pope Video is possible thanks to the generous contributions of many people. You can donate by following this link.

Where can the video be seen?

About The Pope Video

The Pope Video is an official global initiative with the purpose of disseminating the Holy Father’s monthly prayer intentions. It is carried out by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer). Since 2016, The Pope Video has had more than 224 million views across all the Vatican’s social networks, and is translated into more than 23 languages, receiving press coverage in 114 countries. The videos are produced and created by The Pope Video Prayer Network team, coordinated by Andrea Sarubbi, and distributed by La Machi Communication for Good Causes. The project is sponsored by Vatican Media. More information: The Pope Video

About the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is a Vatican foundation, with the mission of mobilizing Catholics through prayer and action in response to the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church. These challenges are presented in the form of prayer intentions entrusted by the Pope to the entire Church. The foundation’s mission is inscribed in the dynamic of the Heart of Jesus, a mission of compassion for the world. Founded in 1844 as the Apostleship of Prayer, it is present in 89 countries, and is made up of more than 22 million Catholics. It includes a youth branch, the Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM). In December 2020, the Pope constituted this pontifical work as a Vatican Foundation and approved its new statutes. Its international director is Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ. For more information, visit: https://www.popesprayer.va

About the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development was created on August 17, 2016. Beginning on 1 January 2017, the competences of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers were combined in this Dicastery. The Dicastery promotes the integral development of the person in the light of the Gospel and the Church’s social doctrine. It’s sphere of expertise lies in the fields of social justice, the common good, peace, the safeguarding of all of Creation, human rights, health, migration and human trafficking, and expresses the Pope’s solicitude for those who are suffering and in need. For more information: https://www.humandevelopment.va/en.html

About Tele VID

Tele VID is a multimedial channel of evangelization created by the Marian Congregation from Medellín Colombia. It transmits via satellite different television cable channels containing programming on spirituality, health, family and health entertainment 24 hours a day. Through digital platforms, it maintains a YouTube channel with more than two million subscribers, Facebook with 2.6 million followers, and has an active presence on Instagram and TikTok. In its 24 years of operation it has positioned itself as an important tool for evangelization for the Catholic Church in Colombia. For more information: www.televid.tv

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