World Refugee Day: Pope Francis-style

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Somali refugees in a tent in 2011 at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya.      (CNS photo/Dai Kurokawa, EPA)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis marked today’s World Refugee Day with an appeal to assist and accompany refugees as well as remedy the injustices and conflicts that force people to flee.

Throughout his pontificate, he has repeatedly underlined the plight of people compelled to leave their home and the Gospel call to “welcome the stranger”:

Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes …

— Pope Francis, World Message for Migrants & Refugees 2014

Too often you have not been welcomed. Forgive the closure and indifference of our societies, which fear the change of life and mentality that your presence requires. Treated as a burden, as problem, a cost, you are instead a gift. You offer witness of how our gracious and merciful our God knows how to transform the evil and injustice you suffer into a good for all.

— Pope Francis, Message to Jesuit “Astalli” refugee center in Rome 2016

 

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A displaced woman carries her sleeping child June 15 at a refugee camp near Mosul, Iraq. (CNS photo/Azad Lashkari, Reuters)

In an effort to give voice to some of the 60 million estimated refugees in the world, Jesuit Refugee Service interviewed a handful of the many people they help. They produced this video as part of their campaign, “Open minds, unlock potential,” which is promoting the need to offer education to and be receptive of new arrivals.

The International Catholic Migration Commission is also sharing stories of resettled refugees around the world as a way to encourage those still waiting for a place to call home and to call attention to the benefits refugees bring to host communities. It is using the #HandsOfMercy, #StoriesOfMercy and #WithRefugees to share or send personal stories or messages of hope on social media.

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