Martin de Jong
In the face of huge migrations of people in many parts of the world desperately seeking safety and a better life, Pope Francis has called for the ‘Church without frontiers … to welcome all people, without distinction or limits, in order to proclaim that “God is love” ’.
Every year, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops set aside a day for prayer and reflection on issues affecting refugees and migrants. This year, the Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants is Sunday 21 June.
Parishes are encouraged to observe the day by using hymns and prayers from diverse languages, invite parishioners with refugee or migrant backgrounds to share their stories, and pray for peace and long-lasting solutions for problems refugees are fleeing from.
Responding to Pope Francis’ call and on behalf of the New Zealand Bishops, Caritas has prepared resources, including a poster, for parishes to use to reflect on this year’s Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants. Resources are available online at www.caritas.org.nz
Caritas reports that according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, that among 7.6 million Syrian refugees displaced from their homes, almost 4 million are living in the wider Middle East region including countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
Lord, we pray for refugees forced to leave their homeland and turned away by others. Bring them to a place of safety where they may find warm and welcoming hearts. Amen.
Martin de Jong is Advocacy and Research Adviser for Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.