US Catholics Join with Pope Francis in Campaign to “Share the Journey” of Migrants and Refugees
WASHINGTON—Today, several dozen bishops across theUnited States are joining Pope Francis as he launched the two-year "Share theJourney" campaign, holding events and reaching out to support migrants andrefugees in their own dioceses as the campaign aims to raise awareness abouttheir plight worldwid
Kicked off around the world by theglobal Caritas network, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops(USCCB), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) aresponsoring the campaign in the United States. Both CRS, working in more than100 countries around the world, and CCUSA, the Catholic Church's domesticagency, are members of Caritas Internationalis, the Church's worldwide charityorganization that is the overall sponsor of the campaign.
"This campaign is both spiritual andpractical," says Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who ispresident of the USCCB. "The Pope isasking us to pray and reflect and to use the awareness we build to take action,both personally and publically. To our Church, this campaign is an embodimentof the Biblical command to love our neighbor."
Pope Francis kicked off "Share theJourney" at the Vatican today with a symbolic gesture of reaching out to thosedisplaced from their homes, who now number some 65 million around the world,the biggest such crisis since World War II. That will be followed by a week ofprayer and action for migrants and refugees in Catholic churches and parishesaround the world from Oct. 7 to Oct. 14.
"The Holy Father wants us to feel thispersonally," says Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO of CatholicCharities USA. "Each of us must work to encounter the migrants and refugees whoare all around us. All too often, they seem invisible to us. We need to heartheir stories, literally share their journeys, and see them as our brothers andsisters."
From Seattle to Miami, bishops areholding masses, prayer vigils and events with local migrants and refugees. Twodioceses in Florida, for example, illustrate the support the Catholic Church islending to the campaign. The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception inJacksonville, part of the St. Augustine diocese, is working through its localCatholic Charities to invite refugees and migrants to a special 7 p.m. masswhere they will be welcomed to share their stories.
In Venice, the diocese is launching aphoto exhibition and slideshow focused on the issue, along with a video about ayoung woman, the adult child of migrant workers, who is now Program Directorfor Catholic Charities Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee, FL. The campaignalso calls for governments and international organizations to takeresponsibility for caring for forced migrants, most of whom are fleeingdisasters – war, famine, violence – beyond their control.
"At CRS, we work with both theinternally displaced and refugees around the world," CRS President SeanCallahan says. "We know firsthand that these are innocent victims, that theyshould be treated with respect and dignity, that they are the people the Biblecalls us to love. By heeding Pope Francis' call to share their journey, we canall come to understand that."
More information about "Share theJourney" is available on sharejourney.org.
About Catholic Charities USA
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), a member of CaritasInternationalis, is the national office for the Catholic Charities ministrynationwide. CCUSA's members provide help and create hope to more than 8 millionpeople a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Tolearn more, please visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org and follow CCUSA on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
About Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services is the official internationalhumanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agencyalleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS' relief and development work is accomplishedthrough programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education,microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit www.crs.org orwww.crsespanol.org andfollow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief,@CRSnews and @CRSnoticias, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
About the U.S. Conference of CatholicBishopsTheUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is an assembly of thehierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercisecertain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the UnitedStates. The purpose of the Conference is to promote the greater good which theChurch offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of theapostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place. Thispurpose is drawn from the universal law of the Church and applies to theepiscopal conferences which are established all over the world for the samepurpose. For more information, visit www.usccb.org and www.justiceforimmigrants.org Followthe USCCB on Facebook, Twitter @USCCB, Instagram.