World Day of Migrants and Refugees

2021 World Day of Migrants and Refugees

By Julia St. Clair

This Sunday, September 26, the Church will celebrate her 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Earlier this year, Pope Francis released his annual message, titled “Towards an ever wider ‘we.’” Fr. Provincial discussed the importance of His Holiness’ message in last week’s Salesian News, and we continue to reflect on how we can work “towards an ever wider we as this day draws near.

One thing to keep in mind is that we are all God’s children; no matter our gender, ethnicity, or race, we all come from Him. When we look at others who must leave home for work or in fear of their lives, we gaze upon our brothers and sisters. Some of us can sympathize easier than others, especially if they had gone through similar journeys.

Although migrants and refugees face a reality that others of us may never encounter, their plight is similar to the perils many of our families faced as they immigrated to Canada and the USA. Almost all of us can trace our ancestry to at least one country different from the one we inhabit, or at least one culture that differs from the one we grew up in, no matter the generation. So, when we recognize migrants’ and refugees’ stories, we also honor our families’ histories and sacrifices.

We also reflect on the discrimination many migrants and refugees face each day. Their difficulties did not end once they left home, and they are often judged and misunderstood. Jesus told us to love one another. He said to the Apostles, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:34-35). Migrants and refugees are our brothers and sisters—why should we view them any differently? If we judge them, do we truly love them? Moreover, is this what Christ would have wanted? We know the answer—and we also realize that there is something we can do.

As Fr. Provincial mentioned last week, “Although this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees is Sunday, September 26, the significance of this day for us in SUE goes beyond a single day” (“Towards an Ever Wider We”). Think of one way you can give back to your community and honor migrants and refugees. Perhaps that involves volunteering at a nonprofit, such as the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester, NY. If you know a migrant or refugee, be sure to let them know they are appreciated, loved, and valued. Anything you can do to spread awareness, even sharing this article, is greatly appreciated.

Dear Lord, in honor of this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, we pray to remember that we are all Your children. Help us to no longer divide ourselves based on gender, ethnicity, race, etc. Let us love, accept, and respect one another, especially those who were forced to leave their homes and begin anew. Grant us peace in our hearts and let us come together as one. Amen.

September 22, 2021 - 10:00am

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