Immigration levels in the United States and around the world are higher than they have been in decades, and many leaders struggle to find the best way to take in or otherwise help immigrants. Pope Francis urges all Catholics to welcome and support immigrants, and hopes to draw special attention to this issue with the recently announced Share the Journey initiative.
The program, launched in late September of 2017, aims to inform Catholics about immigration and to support immigrants through prayer and giving. In early October, Catholics across the country finished up the Week of Prayer and action for immigrants as part of the Share the Journey initiative.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Internationalis provide a host of resources to help Catholics in dioceses across the United States reflect on the international migration crisis and to help those in need.
Share the Journey provides resources to parishes across the country who seek to help migrants and refugees, including by offering: teaching tools for parish leaders, ideas for prayer services, tips on supporting immigrants in one’s community and inspirational stories about migrants.
“The Holy Father has repeatedly called on us to support migrants and refugees forcibly displaced from their homes,” said Joan Rosenhauer, CRS vice president for U.S. operations, in a USCCB press release. “We’re called by the Gospel to love our neighbor, and amid a global refugee crisis not seen since World War II, we have to do more to welcome and support those whose lives are threatened by violence and poverty. In the U.S., we can do that by admitting the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement and of course assist them and the countries hosting them around the world.”
Pope Francis on immigrants
“Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”
— Address of Pope Francis to a joint meeting of the United States Congress, Sept. 24, 2015 (Compiled by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.)
Teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church about immigration:
2211: “The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially … the right to private property, to free enterprise, to obtain work and housing, and the right to emigrate.”
2241: “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.” (Compiled by the USCCB and Justice for Immigrants)
Frances Xavier Cabrini, patron saint of immigrants
Mother Frances Cabrini came to the United States in 1889 from Italy, with a mission to open an orphanage. She was told to return to her home country, but refused. After much hardship, she eventually founded more than 60 institutions to serve the needy and, in particular, immigrants, through her order, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This year marks the 100th anniversary of her death; her feast day is Nov. 13.