“…faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others.” – Pope Francis
National Migration Week is January 8-14, 2017
On January 8, the celebration of the Epiphany, Christians reflect on the journey of the wise men in search for the Savior. This date also marks the beginning of National Migration Week – a time designated by the Catholic Church in the United States as an opportunity to reflect on the circumstances confronting immigrants and refugees. Many of these migrants are children, and many are victims and survivors of human trafficking.
The theme for National Migration Week 2017, “Creating a Culture of Encounter,” draws attention to Pope Francis’ call to create a culture of encounter, and in doing so to look beyond our own needs and wants to those of others around us.
Too often in our contemporary culture, we fail to encounter migrants as persons, and instead look at them as “others” or render them invisible. We may not take the time to engage migrants in a meaningful way, as fellow children of God, but remain aloof to their presence and suspicious of their intentions.
During this National Migration Week, let us all take the opportunity to engage migrants as community members and neighbors worthy of our attention and support.
Prayer and Reflection for National Migration Week
“Do not be afraid,” the angel Gabriel told Mary. Immigrants and refugees face fear daily.
Let us pray for the grace of love,
which casts out all fear.
Jesus was born a migrant. Bethlehem had no room, so Jesus was born in a stable.
Let us pray for the grace of hospitality to
The Holy Family became refugees through the wrath of King Herod. Today migrants and refugees are still forced from their homes.
Let us pray for the grace of charity,
to offer comfort and consolation.
Merciful and Loving Father,
Open our hearts so that we may provide hospitality and refuge to migrants
who are lonely, afraid, and far from their homes.
Give us the courage to welcome every stranger as Christ in our midst,
to invite them into our communities as a demonstration of Christ’s love for us.
-Adapted from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Unity in Diversity, A Scriptural Rosary”
Images of stained glass and nativity scene from the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Immaculate Conception Chapel.
Additional Resources for National Migration Week: