The Church has been celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees since 1914. It is always an occasion to express concern for many different vulnerable people on the move; to pray for the challenges and increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.

In 2019, the World Day will be celebrated on September 29th. Pope Francis has chosen the theme “It is not just about migrants” to show up our blind-spots and make sure no one remains excluded from society, whether a long-time resident or someone newly-arrived.

The following are excerpts from Pope Francis’ prophetic message:

The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media, is producing a “globalization of indifference.” In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion. . .That attitude is an alarm bell warning of the moral decline we will face if we continue to give ground to the throw-away culture.”

For this reason, the presence of migrants and refugees -- and of vulnerable people in general -- is an invitation to recover some of those essential dimensions of our Christian existence and our humanity that risk being overlooked in a prosperous society. That is why it is not just about migrants. When we show concern for them, we also show concern for ourselves, for everyone; in taking care of them, we all grow; in listening to them, we also give voice to a part of ourselves that we may keep hidden because it is not well regarded nowadays.”

It is not just about migrants:

  • it is also about our fears.

  • : it is about charity.

  • : it is about our humanity.

  • : it is a question of seeing that no one is excluded.

  • : it is about putting the last in first place.

  • : it is about the whole person, about all people.

  • : it is about building the city of God and man.

Our response to the challenges posed by contemporary migration can be summed up in four verbs: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. . .They describe the Church’s mission to all those living in the existential peripheries . . .If we put those four verbs into practice, we will help build the city of God and man. . .promote the integral human development of all people. . .help the world community to come closer to the goals of sustainable development that it has set for itself and that, lacking such an approach, will prove difficult to achieve. . . the Lord is calling us to conversion, to be set free from exclusivity, indifference and the throw-away culture. . .the Lord invites us to embrace fully our Christian life.”