In collaboration with Respect Life Month and in coordination with Pope Francis’ global kick off of the Share the Journey campaign, here are six ways families can support migrants and refugees during the Week of Prayer and Action.
by Regina Lordan
The Share the Journey campaign, an initiative of Caritas Internationalis, offers Catholic families activities, ideas and an abundance of free resources to encourage participation in helping migrants and refugees integrate into their new communities. Caritas, the global umbrella group of Catholic aid agencies, includes Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging Catholics in this country to participate through prayer, advocacy and parish activities during in a Week of Prayer and Action Oct. 7-13.
Six ways families can help migrant and refugee families.
1. Learn about the Church’s position on migrant and refugee families.
The U.S. bishops’ have made statements on the issue of protecting the rights of migrants and refugees. A list of relevant references can be found on the U.S. bishops’ website. Catholics are called to support the most vulnerable among us, including migrants and refugees fleeing unstable, insecure and unsafe conditions in search of safety and security. According to the Pew Research Center, around 3 million refugees have been admitted to the United States since 1980 when Congress passed the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program and current regulations for refugee screening. More data on refugee resettlement can be found in the article.
2. Meet a migrant or refugee.
Share the Journey campaign suggests contacting your local Catholic Charities to meet and welcome migrants and refugees with a parish potluck or community gathering, but migrants and refugees can be met in many literary works and in the news, such as your diocesan newspaper. Use your discretion here, but teenagers might benefit from learning about refugees from First They Killed My Father and younger children will learn about three different refugee stories in Refugee.
3. Pray for migrants and refugees.
Pray the rosary for those struggling during the resettlement process — this is the month of the rosary, or recite a special prayer for refugees located here.
4. Participate in a simulation of the refugee crisis…
5. Ask your parish to distribute prayer and commitment sheets…
…which can be found on the Share the Journey website.