Washington (Agenzia Fides) - The worldwide campaign to support displaced people began yesterday, September 27. On the same day, several Bishops across the United States joined Pope Francis as he launched the "Share the Journey" campaign in St. Peter's Square, holding events and reaching out to migrants and refugees in their own dioceses as the campaign aims to raise awareness about their plight worldwide.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) are sponsoring the campaign in the United States. Both CRS, working in more than 100 countries around the world, and CCUSA, the Catholic Church's domestic agency, are members of Caritas Internationalis, the Church's worldwide charity organization that is the overall sponsor of the campaign.
"The Holy Father wants us to feel this personally", says Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA. "Each of us must work to encounter the migrants and refugees who are all around us. All too often, they seem invisible to us. We need to hear their stories, literally share their journeys, and see them as our brothers and sisters".
From Seattle to Miami, Bishops are holding masses, prayer vigils and events with migrants and refugees. Two dioceses in Florida, for example, illustrate the support the Catholic Church is lending to the campaign. The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville, part of the St. Augustine diocese, is working through its local Catholic Charities to invite refugees and migrants to a mass where they will be welcomed to share their stories.
In Venice, the diocese is launching a photo exhibition and slideshow focused on the issue, along with a video about a young woman, the adult child of migrant workers, who is now Program Director for Catholic Charities Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee, FL. The campaign also calls for governments and international organizations to take responsibility for caring for forced migrants, most of whom are fleeing disasters, war, famine, violence.
"At CRS, we work with both the internally displaced and refugees around the world", CRS President Sean Callahan says. "We know firsthand that these are innocent victims, that they should be treated with respect and dignity, that they are the people the Bible calls us to love. "By heeding Pope Francis' call to share their journey, we can all come to understand that".(CE) (Agenzia Fides, 28/09/2017)