The World Day of Migrants & Refugees

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

Every year the WDMR is the last Sunday of September; in 2021 it was celebrated on 26 September. The theme this year was Towards an ever wider “we”. In his message for this day, Pope Francis writes:

“God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’” (Gen 1:27-28). God created us male and female, different yet complementary, in order to form a “we” destined to become ever more numerous in the succession of generations. God created us in his image, in the image of his own triune being, a communion in diversity.”

“When, in disobedience we turned away from God, he in his mercy wished to offer us a path of
reconciliation, not as individuals but as a people, a “we”, meant to embrace the entire human
family, without exception: “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them” (Rev 21:3).”

“…. this “we” willed by God is broken and fragmented, wounded and disfigured. This becomes all the more evident in moments of great crisis, as is the case with the current pandemic. Our “we”, both in the wider world and within the Church, is crumbling and cracking due to myopic and aggressive forms of nationalism and radical individualism. And the highest price is being paid by those who most easily become viewed as others: foreigners, migrants, the marginalized, those living on the existential peripheries.”

“…. In our day, the Church is called to go out into the streets of every existential periphery in order to
heal wounds and to seek out the straying, without prejudice or fear, without proselytising, but
ready to widen her tent to embrace everyone. Among those dwelling in those existential
peripheries, we find many migrants and refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking, to
whom the Lord wants his love to be manifested and his salvation preached. “The current influx
of migrants can be seen as a new “frontier” for mission, a privileged opportunity to proclaim
Jesus Christ and the Gospel message at home, and to bear concrete witness to the Christian faith
in a spirit of charity and profound esteem for other religious communities.”


Holy, beloved Father,
your Son Jesus taught us
that there is great rejoicing in heaven
whenever someone lost is found,
whenever someone excluded, rejected or discarded
is gathered into our “we”,
which thus becomes ever wider.
We ask you to grant the followers of Jesus,
and all people of good will,
the grace to do your will on earth.
Bless each act of welcome and outreach
that draws those in exile
into the “we” of community and of the Church,
so that our earth may truly become
what you yourself created it to be:
the common home of all our brothers and sisters. Amen.

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 3 May 2021, Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles