Child migrants are the focus of the Church's week-long celebration of the contribution of migrants, which will culminate this weekend with Migrant and Refugee Sunday, the ACBC reports.
Fr Maurizio Pettena, National Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office says that each year the Universal Church commemorates the contribution migrants have made to our communities. The Catholic Bishops of Australia have selected the last Sunday in August each year to be the date where Masses are celebrated for the enrichment these communities have provided in the Church.
“Every year, for over 100 years, the Holy Father has chosen a theme to be the focal point during these celebrations. For 2017, the message for the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis chose the theme, ‘Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless’,” Fr Maurizio says.
Pope Francis draws our attention to the needs of child migrants globally. He encourages us by pointing out that, “Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants”.
In Australia, schools and parishes have many successful programs that have assisted in the integration of migrants. The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has produced a Migrant Kit, a parish and school resource to assist in the celebrations. Contained are stories of resilience and success in the integration of migrant communities in Australia. Copies of the kit have been sent to schools and dioceses, and electronic copies are available for download on the ACMRO website, www.acmro.catholic.org.au.
As part of the week-long celebrations, the ACMRO and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, have organised a free public lecture on “Freedom of Religion in a Multi-religious Society: the Contribution of Migration”, at the Philippa Brazill Lecture Theatre, ground floor, Daniel Mannix Building, 8-18 Brunswick St, Fitzroy Vic, on Thursday, August 24, at 7pm.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Pope Francis has issued a 20-point action plan to governments on refugees and migrants to try to galvanise their response to the issue.
His intention is to lay the ground for the drafting of two global compacts on refugees and migration, which are expected to be adopted at the UN general assembly in September 2018.
The roadmap was published on Monday by the Vatican’s migrants and refugees section, which was set up by Pope Francis last year and operates under his direction. The action points were personally approved by the pontiff.
In a message issued before publication, the Pope said he had “repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty”. The situation was “undoubtedly a ‘sign of the times’,” he said.
Migrant and Refugee Sunday (ACBC/ACMRO media release)
Bishop Joe Grech Memorial Colloquium (ACU.edu.au)