World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees: ‘Forced like Jesus to Flee’

Sunday 27th September 2020

Today is World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees.

We stand with Pope Francis to recognise the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Over the last few months we have seen the pandemic described as the ‘great leveller’ but for migrants and refugees, these challenges have been multiplied – continuing to face long and dangerous journeys, poor hygiene in cramped camps or even the disruption of access to essential services once they do reach safety.

It is easy to read these stories in our newspapers and focus on the statistics. But what we need to remember is that behind the news, the pictures and the statistics, there are people who have stories and plans for their families just like us.

Around the world millions of people are facing displacement due to war, natural disaster and persecution, being forced to flee their homes to reach safety.

Sometimes the fear of the unknown can paralyse us, preventing us from taking action to live openly and with kindness.  It is then we have a choice to look inwards and decide to transform our fear into hope, we can embrace the new opportunities that people can bring.

Here in Manchester, many people have made this choice to live with hope and welcome the stranger by supporting local community projects working with refugees and migrants.

Even through the pandemic, volunteers from Caritas Diocese of Salford have continued to teach refugees and migrants in our city the English language, adapting their service to be online. This service is essential in helping to tackle the isolation felt in a new country.

Cornerstone, as you can read in the Manchester Evening News here, changed the path of Musaab’s life. He said: “Through the help of Caritas I have met some of my best friends here, people who are also from Sudan and speak the same language, which helps me feel less homesick.

“I went from being destitute and living in emergency accommodation to getting a qualification with Caritas and now succeeding on my university course.

“I’m not sure I’d be in uni or in any kind of safe accommodation if I hadn’t found out about Cornerstone.”

As we recognise this World Day of Migrants and Refugees, let us remember the person behind the headlines, rediscover our shared humanity and walk with our new neighbours on their journey.

You can read Pope Francis’s message marking the day here 

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