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National Migration Week

January 5th, 2012

A reminder that National Migration Week will be observed in dioceses around the country January 8-14. This year’s theme, “Welcoming Christ in the Migrant,” and the artistic renderings in the week’s materials depict the disciples welcoming a stranger on the road to Emmaus.

“Just as on the road to Emmaus, Christ’s disciples met him in the guise of a stranger, this year’s theme helps remind us that Christ makes himself present to each of us in the lonesome traveler, the newcomer, and the migrant,” said Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles. “We are called to open our hearts and provide hospitality to those in need, especially for migrants who find themselves far away from home and in vulnerable situations.” Archbishop Gomez is the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration.

Resources for National Migration Week can be found on the USCCB website. Posters, prayer cards and booklets can be ordered through the USCCB publishing service or by calling 800-235-8722.

Additionally, the U.S. bishops continue to encourage advocacy efforts by the Catholic community on comprehensive immigration reform. Visit the Justice for Immigrants Campaign website for more information.

Earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI also unveiled the theme for the 98th World Day of Migrants and Refugees to be celebrated January 15, 2012: “Migration and the New Evangelization.” In his message the pope says that the present time calls upon the Church to intensify its missionary activity both in the regions where the Gospel is proclaimed for the first time and in countries with a Christian tradition.

“Proclaiming Jesus Christ the one Savior of the world ‘constitutes the essential mission of the Church’ … Today we feel the urgent need to give a fresh impetus and new approaches to the work of evangelization in a world in which the breaking down of frontiers and the new processes of globalization are bringing individuals and peoples even closer,” said Pope Benedict.

Internal or international migration, in search of better living conditions or to flee from the threat of persecution, war and violence, has led to an unprecedented mingling of individuals and peoples, with new problems not only from the human standpoint but also from ethical, religious and spiritual ones, the pope said. And, he added, “Christian communities are to pay special attention to migrant workers and their families by accompanying them with prayer, solidarity and Christian charity, as well as by fostering new political, economic and social planning that promotes respect for the dignity of every human person.” World Day of Migrants and Refugees was instituted by Pope Pius X in 1914.

Pope Benedict’s message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2012 can be found in the Vatican website (click here)

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