Pope Francis' Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 9/27/20

The Holy See
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE 106th WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES 2020
[27 September 2020]
Like Jesus Christ, forced to flee.
Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating
internally displaced persons

At the beginning of this year, in my Address to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to
the Holy See, I pointed to the tragedy of internally displaced people as one of the challenges of
our contemporary world: “Situations of conflict and humanitarian emergencies, aggravated by
climate change, are increasing the numbers of displaced persons and affecting people already
living in a state of dire poverty. Many of the countries experiencing these situations lack adequate
structures for meeting the needs of the displaced” (9 January 2020).

The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
has issued the document “Pastoral Orientations on Internally Displaced People” (Vatican City, 5
May 2020), which aims to inspire and encourage the pastoral work of the Church in this specific
area.

For these reasons, I have decided to devote this Message to the drama of internally displaced
persons, an often unseen tragedy that the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has
only exacerbated. In fact, due to its virulence, severity and geographical extent, this crisis has
impacted on many other humanitarian emergencies that affect millions of people, which has
relegated to the bottom of national political agendas those urgent international efforts essential to
saving lives. But “this is not a time for forgetfulness. The crisis we are facing should not make us
forget the many other crises that bring suffering to so many people” (Urbi et Orbi Message, 12
April 2020).

In the light of the tragic events that have marked 2020, I would like this Message, although
concerned with internally displaced persons, to embrace all those who are experiencing situations
of precariousness, abandonment, marginalization and rejection as a result of COVID-19.

I would like to start with the image that inspired Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution Exsul
Familia (1 August 1952). During the flight into Egypt, the child Jesus experienced with his parents
the tragic fate of the displaced and refugees, “which is marked by fear, uncertainty and unease (cf.
Mt 2:13-15, 19-23). Unfortunately, in our own times, millions of families can identify with this sad
reality. Almost every day the television and papers carry news of refugees fleeing from hunger,
war and other grave dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and for their
families” (Angelus, 29 December 2013). In each of these people, forced to flee to safety, Jesus is
present as he was at the time of Herod. In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick,
strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help (cf. Mt
25:31-46). If we can recognize him in those faces, we will be the ones to thank him for having
been able to meet, love and serve him in them.

Displaced people offer us this opportunity to meet the Lord, “even though our eyes find it hard to
recognize him: his clothing in tatters, his feet dirty, his face disfigured, his body wounded, his
tongue unable to speak our language” (Homily, 15 February 2019). We are called to respond to
this pastoral challenge with the four verbs I indicated in my Message for this Day in 2018:
welcome, protect, promote and integrate. To these words, I would now like to add another six pairs
of verbs that deal with very practical actions and are linked together in a relationship of cause and
effect.

You have to know in order to understand. Knowledge is a necessary step towards understanding
others. Jesus himself tells us this in the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “While
they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them, but their
eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Lk 24:15-16). When we talk about migrants and displaced
persons, all too often we stop at statistics. But it is not about statistics, it is about real people! If we
encounter them, we will get to know more about them. And knowing their stories, we will be able to
understand them. We will be able to understand, for example, that the precariousness that we
have come to experience as a result of this pandemic is a constant in the lives of displaced
people.

It is necessary to be close in order to serve. It may seem obvious, yet often it is the contrary. “But
a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where the man was; and when he saw him, he had
compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him
on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Lk 10:33-34). Fears and
prejudices – all too many prejudices – keep us distant from others and often prevent us from
“becoming neighbours” to them and serving them with love. Drawing close to others often means
being willing to take risks, as so many doctors and nurses have taught us in recent months. This
readiness to draw near and serve goes beyond a mere sense of duty. Jesus gave us the greatest
example of this when he washed the feet of his disciples: he took off his cloak, knelt down and
dirtied his hands (cf. Jn 13:1-15).

In order to be reconciled, we need to listen. God himself taught us this by sending his Son into the
world. He wanted to listen to the plea of suffering humanity with human ears: “For God so loved
the world that he gave his only-begotten Son… that the world might be saved through him” (Jn
3:16-17). A love that reconciles and saves begins with listening. In today’s world, messages
multiply but the practice of listening is being lost. Yet it is only through humble and attentive
listening that we can truly be reconciled. In 2020, silence has reigned for weeks in our streets. A
dramatic and troubling silence, but one that has given us the opportunity to listen to the plea of the
vulnerable, the displaced and our seriously ill planet. Listening gives us an opportunity to be
reconciled with our neighbour, with all those who have been “discarded”, with ourselves and with
God, who never tires of offering us his mercy.

In order to grow, it is necessary to share. Sharing was an essential element of the first Christian
community: “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said
that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common” (Acts
4:32). God did not want the resources of our planet to benefit only a few. This was not the Lord’s
will! We have to learn to share in order to grow together, leaving no one behind. The pandemic
has reminded us how we are all in the same boat. Realizing that we have the same concerns and
fears has shown us once more that no one can be saved alone. To grow truly, we must grow
together, sharing what we have, like the boy who offered Jesus five barley loaves and two fish…
yet they proved enough for five thousand people (cf. Jn 6:1-15)!

We need to be involved in order to promote. As Jesus was with the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:1-
30). The Lord approaches her, listens to her, speaks to her heart, and then leads her to the truth
and makes her a herald of the Good News: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did! Can
this be the Christ?” (v. 29). Sometimes the impulse to serve others prevents us from seeing their
real riches. If we really want to promote those whom we assist, we must involve them and make
them agents in their own redemption. The pandemic has reminded us of how essential coresponsibility is, and that only with the contribution of everyone – even of those groups so often
underestimated – can we face this crisis. We must find “the courage to create spaces where
everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and
solidarity” (Meditation in Saint Peter’s Square, 27 March 2020).

It is necessary to cooperate in order to build. That is what the Apostle Paul tells the community of
Corinth: “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and
that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same
judgement” (1 Cor 1:10). Building the Kingdom of God is a duty common to all Christians, and for
this reason it is necessary that we learn to cooperate, without yielding to the temptation to
jealousy, discord and division. In the present context it should be reiterated: “This is not a time for
self-centredness, because the challenge we are facing is shared by all, without distinguishing
between persons” (Urbi et Orbi Message, 12 April 2020). To preserve our common home and
make it conform more and more to God’s original plan, we must commit ourselves to ensuring
international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded.
I would like to conclude with a prayer suggested by the example of Saint Joseph at the time he
was forced to flee to Egypt to save the child Jesus.

Father, you entrusted to Saint Joseph what you held most precious: the child Jesus and his
Mother, in order to protect them from the dangers and threats of the wicked.

Grant that we may experience his protection and help. May he, who shared in the sufferings of
those who flee from the hatred of the powerful, console and protect all our brothers and sisters
driven by war, poverty and necessity to leave their homes and their lands to set out as refugees
for safer places.

Help them, through the intercession of Saint Joseph, to find the strength to persevere, give them
comfort in sorrows and courage amid their trials.
Grant to those who welcome them some of the tender love of this just and wise father, who loved
Jesus as a true son and sustained Mary at every step of the way.
May he, who earned his bread by the work of his hands, watch over those who have seen
everything in life taken away and obtain for them the dignity of a job and the serenity of a home.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom Saint Joseph saved by fleeing to Egypt, and
trusting in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom he loved as a faithful husband in accordance
with your will. Amen.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 13 May 2020, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima.
Franciscus
©Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Statement on Racism from National JPIC Commission – US Secular Franciscan Order

Statement on Racism from the National Commission of Justice,
Peace and Integrity of Creation of the U.S. Secular Franciscan

How long, O LORD, must I cry for help and you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” and you do not intervene?
Why do you let me see iniquity?
Why do you simply gaze at evil?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife and discord. (Habakkuk 1: 2-3)

Once again, the wound of racism in our society has been exposed because of what appears to be
careless and irresponsible behavior by persons whom we should trust to keep peace and encourage
non-violence: law enforcement officers and public officials.

The National Commission of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Secular Franciscan Order
in the United States, hereby declares that racism is morally wrong. It does not love or respect life.
Neither Scripture, our Rule of Life nor our faith justifies it, for any reason, or under any circumstance.
Our Catholic social teaching calls us to respect and honor the dignity of every human life, from the
womb to natural death. It makes no exclusions on the basis of color or ethnicity and calls out no other
distinction to be excluded. We are called to honor and respect the lives of people we love and people
whom we may find it hard to love; people who are like us and people who are different from us.
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others each have their
tragic and brutal circumstances, but share a central question that cannot be ignored: If they had been
white, and the circumstances were identical, would they be alive?
As Catholic Christians and Franciscans, we owe it to ourselves to do the following in response to
racism:
 To identify and eradicate the structures in our societal institutions that perpetuate racism, and
replace them with structures that are fair and just, and that value the lives and gifts of every
person.
 To pray for an end to racism; indeed, to pray for interracial solidarity, for our laws and our faith
practices to reflect our compassion and value for the dignity of every human life; and that we
lovers and followers of Jesus and Francis of Assisi, be leaders in bringing about a rightly
informed sense of racial equity and justice in our land and in our Church.
 To identify and confront our own unconscious racial biases. After a shared history of hundreds
of years in this country, we all have them. They make their way into our lives and culture, often
unnoticed. But we can become more just and open by discovering these unconscious biases
and replace them with love and engagement.

And finally, we need to have safe and meaningful dialogue about those racial biases. We owe it to
ourselves and to our brothers and sisters to develop a strong sense of community and fraternity
through peaceful conversations. This is truly a conversion moment where dialogue and education are
needed. Our Holy Rule calls us to be “bearers of peace” and we all must bear the burden of peace as
we walk this journey towards holiness as brothers and sisters, with open hands and joyful hearts.
Come, Holy Spirit! Lord, make it so!

Prayer to Overcome Racism

Prayer to Overcome Racism
Mary, friend and mother to all, through your Son, God has found a way to unite himself
to every human being, called to be one people, sisters and brothers to each other.
We ask for your help in calling on your Son, seeking forgiveness for the times when we have
failed to love and respect one another. We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son the
grace we need to overcome the evil of racism and to build a just society. We ask for your help in
following your Son, so that prejudice and animosity will no longer infect our minds or hearts but
will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity of each person.
Mother of the Church, the Spirit of your Son Jesus warms our hearts: pray for us.
Amen

May 2020, Fifth Anniversary of Laudato Si – Jeff Redder, OFS JPIC Animator

With the start of Laudato Si Week today and the recent conclusion of the National JPIC Commission Conference, I prepared the attached newsletter for local fraternities to use to promote JPIC.

Of important note is our call to pray on Sunday, May 24th at noon (local time) as part of a global Care for Creation.

Hopefully this will bring you all up to date on what is happening at the National Level and local level concerning JPIC.  As you will see, we all need to pray over our outlook and our understanding of what JPIC means to each of us.  There is always room for lots of dialogue and discussion when we can get back together as fraternities, because I know how we all miss the company and togetherness.

May God continue to watch over each of us as we continue with our daily lives!

Yours in Christ,

Jeffrey C Redder, OFS

SKD Regional JPIC Animator

May 2020-SKD JPIC Animator Laudato-Si-Bulletin-Insert USCCB Laudato-Si-discussion-guide

JPIC News – August, 2019 – Jeff Redder, OFS, JPIC Animator

Saint Katharine Drexel Region 
Secular Franciscan Order (USA)
Justice, Peace, & the Integrity of Creation 
September 2019

· Greetings

I am again looking at what has been on the news this past month and asking myself, what should I bring up as some subjects for this month, September 2019. To start off the month, I keep thinking about the some of the news stories that are making the news. It is sad to keep hearing another shooting taking place here in our country. The question that comes to mind is “What makes them do these things? Is there no other way to solve whatever the problem is.” I just went to the Annual JPIC Animator Conference and there were so many issues talked about. I still have to get my trip report done and sent out. But I would like to send an invitation out to all fraternities that I would be willing to come talk to you about what I learned about JPIC. One of the main themes is that we as Franciscans are doing JPIC in our daily lives as we live out our profession. It is part of who we are, being loving, kind, compassionate, and merciful. One of the other main themes, avoid violence in how we deal with others and respect others as human beings, as we are all born in the image and likeness of God. Love our neighbor as our selves. All sounds easy, but not so easy to put into daily practice. With being open to the power of the Holy Spirit and letting God guide us, we can do these things. Also, with the help from each other, being family.

As we look at some of the positive events that have happened. The Pope announcing 8 new Cardinals to the Council of Cardinals. Mostly from third would countries, giving more voice to these people. This is all part of Peace and Justice. Must have peace to have justice. Let us keep the Pope and all the leaders of the Church in our daily thoughts and prayers. They have a very hard and pressing job to deal with each day. It is sad to hear about people trying to attach and take down our leaders. Check weekly on the United States Bishops Conference website to see what is happening in our country. Also, check with what is going on at the local level both with the Church and local government. Lots of good being done. We as Franciscans should be helping with spreading that good news. Again, as I read my different magazines, I see and read about how many different people are working to save Mother Earth so she will be around for many years for our grandchildren to enjoy as we enjoy the earth today. I will be gone to Italy from 12 Sep. to Oct 7th. So when I get back, I will give a report on the Franciscan Pilgrim Study. Teresa and I am looking forward to the trip and all the learning about both SS Francis and Clare. My email is: jcredder@gmail.com

PEACE & ALL GOOD IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST!

JEFFREY C REDDER, OFS

SKD JPIC ANIMATOR

August 2019 JPIC Article - Jeff Redder, OFS

August 2019-SKD JPIC Animator (1)

World Down Syndrome Day – March 21

Thanks to our sister, Teresa Redder, OSF, for sharing this great video.  Take a minute and watch!

 

Call to action 2019

Returning Citizens - October 2017 JPIC Reflection

Returning Citizens 

Peace and All Good ! I have been asked to resume the position of Regional JPIC coordinator and am pleased to be able to continue to share some of the wealth of information my attendance at the National JPIC meetings gave me. One topic which we discussed and which was interesting was that of the Returning Citizen , people who had been incarcerated and who were then released. The wording of this was surprising to me and seemed to reflect the very graciousness of our Seraphic Father St. Francis. 

We learned about their efforts in the Mid West at the JPIC gathering , how they provided clothes suitable for going on a job interview, etc. , but my question to the Region is how will we address this topic here at home ? My initial essay was going to be built on what my research  had shown me, namely that there are almost 2.2 million people incarcerated in the U.S. and we lead the world in number of people incarcerated per capita. One out of every 28 children in the U.S. has  an incarcerated parent.  Of those who are now on parole on released on probation, 43% will be re arrested within one year. This topic can spin  off in many areas and I will be exploring those over the next few months. 

But as I was initially going to fill this with facts about ” those people” a few things happened which knocked my socks off and made this topic very real to me. The first was when I was watching the news and saw that the boy down the street allegedly committed a murder. This was a boy who had graduated with my son less than three years ago. His parents were den leaders with us. He was a football star. His two brothers and his father are police men. These kids went to Catholic school. They live a block from me. This is my problem. 

Then I was still doing research and looking at a website about this kind of  work in New York with Returning Citizens and I saw my best friend’s niece in a picture carrying a banner at a rally in the City for Returning Citizens. I called my best friend who said that her sister would not say anything about Petra , actually for the last few years, other than to say that she was fine. But we now know that Petra had been in jail. My friend would not say anything to her sister about it but I thought “Wow, this was a girl that had stayed with me one summer. I know her and her whole family. We were close. ” This is no longer an abstraction. These issues now have names for me. Petra and Tommy. It is my problem.  

Isn’t it true that we always think it is someone else’s problem. I am reminded of John Donne’s poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls ” in the line “Do not send to know for whom the bell tolls , it tolls for thee. ” and again in the play Miss Saigon referencing the Ameri Asian children born in Viet Nam after the war : “They’re called BUI Doi, the dust of life conceived in hell and born in strife …They are the living reminder of all the good we failed to do … We can’t forget, Must not forget … 

Because we know deep in our hearts that they are all our children too. ” And my point is this : We often don’t care what happens in our world until it comes home to us. We forget that we all come from One Creator and all bleed red and are part of one family.  

In closing, I want to share the writing of a prominent Protestant Pastor , Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) who emerged as a critic of Adolf Hitler but whose words are still relevant: 

“First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out- Because I was not a Socialist. 

Then they came for the Trade Unionists , and I did not speak out-Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – 

Because I was not a Jew . 

Then they came for me- and there was no one left to speak for me. “ 

Certainly, there have been various different versions of this piece, but my point is we become complicit through our silence about social justice issues and we must begin to embrace all of the Poor Ones, the Anawim, (Hebrew word that means, “the poor who depend on the Lord for deliverance) starting now. Their issues must become our issues. If not, do we not commit collectively the sin of omission ? 

Kathleen Agosto, OFS 

JPIC Regional Coordinator 

 

 

 

From Our National JPIC Animator: The Season of Caring for Creation

Greetings of peace, my dear brothers and sisters!

I pray this finds you blessed, favored and filled with the peace of our Lord!

September 1 was the World Day of Prayer for Creation which begins the Season of Caring for Creation. The season goes to the Solemnity of our Seraphic Father, Saint Francis. For very obvious reasons, I have given it a Franciscan flavah! Oh yeah!

Attached please find the prayers to pray and celebrate Sister Mother Earth throughout the Season of Caring for Creation. There are five weeks to pray, reflect, and take some small actions to care for creation. To those who attended the retreat, these might look familiar. You got to pray the communal format, which was framed by the Canticle of the Creatures.

Also, the Week of Nonviolent Action for Campaign Nonviolence is the 20 – 27 September. This includes the International Day of Peace on September 21. Lots of goodies to pray for and about. Remember: Contemplate… Educate… Animate!

For more information about the Season of Creation, check out http://seasonofcreation.info/. This page will lead you to more resources to aid you in your praying for and with Sister Mother Earth.

Please let me know how you use these. It is always a blessing to read your comments and stories.

Right after the Season of Caring for Creation, comes the 12 Weeks of Franciscan Peace! My goodness, there is no shortage of prayers for us! With all of the recent gun violence, we certainly need to pray; and Franciscans are powerful pray-ers!

I have also attached the updated 12 Weeks of Franciscan Peace (the dates have been updated).

Again, any comments or questions, send to ctownes26@hotmail.com.
Wishing you blessings of love, peace and all good,

Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
National Animator of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
U.S. Secular Franciscan Order

Animate Peace

Animator Notes - 2015 Lenten Edition

Greetings of peace, dear brothers and sisters!

I pray this finds you well and filled with the Lord’s peace on this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes!

Well, it is that time again! Yes, Lent is one week away; and in preparation I wanted to send this out to give you time to pray and plan your Lenten activities. As our Holy Father Pope Francis says, lent is a time of grace and renewal. Lent is a wonderful opportunity to begin again!

Please use the links below to open and dowload the 2015 Lenten Edition of the Animator Notes with some Lenten activities for you and your communities to partake. There are also some Lenten Resources, including my Lenten Season of Peace, for you to go deeper into prayer, fasting and giving alms.

One of the activities is a global one. On March 16th, Catholics here in the United States are asked to fast for creation. I am asking you to individually and fraternally join with me (and my emerging fraternity here in South Carolina) to fast in honor of Sister/Mother Earth. You can fast from fast food, excessive water, paper, or electronics use. There is no shortage of ideas to fast. Then, feast on the goodness of our loving Creator God and our Sister/Mother Earth! WooHoo! That’s Latin for Praise the LORD! (said no one ever!)

Anyway, I beg of you to please share with me, in the form of a paragraph, pictures or a video of your Lenten fasting experiences. I would be so grateful.

Feel free to email me with questions or comments anytime. This weekend, I am fasting from conflict and violence in a Restorative Circles Workshop – so limited email access. Stay tuned for more on that.

I wish you all a very blessed, joyous and peace-filled Lenten Season!

Carolyn

Animate Peace

Peace begins within each of us. It is a process of repeatedly showing mercy to ourselves, forgiving ourselves, befriending ourselves, accepting ourselves, and loving ourselves. As we learn to appreciate ourselves and accept God’s gift of peace, we begin to radiate peace and love to others.” ~ Rev. John Dear

 

Animator Notes – 2015 Lenten Edition

Lenten Season of Peace by Carolyn Townes, OFS

Catholic Relief Service Rice Bowl – 2015 Lenten Calendar

Interfaith Power and Light – Lenten Carbon Fast 2015