Pastoral of Migrants: advantages and challenges
ROME – The Pontifical Council for Pastoral of Migrants pubished recently the conclusions of the VIIth World Congress which was held in Rome between the 17th and 21st of November 2014. This document underlines the many advantages of hosting refugees in dioceses. Positive points which hold true also to the diocese of Jerusalem, land of hospitality for several thousands of migrants.
One of the concluding points mentions that “the advantages which migrants can get are greater than just the economic factors and are more profitable not only to host countries, but also to origin countries and, in certain cases as well, to transiting communities” In the diocese of Jerusalem, Jordan, also of Israel and Cyprus, thousands of migrants pack up churches. Originating from Asia or East Africa, many are Christians and bear a socio-spiritual heritage which they convey to local Christians, more often on the occasion of common Masses or major gatherings. They come bringing along with them hymns, prayers, joy and customs.
One of the major advantages is this mutual enrichment among the different communities of migrants and the local Christian community. A mutual enrichment which is a stimulant of faith. In a Mass with Migrants a year ago, Mgr Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, exhorted the faithful: “Join hands to exchange among you the richness of religious, social and cultural life. It is indeed the most important factor to set up a genuine unity”.
Publishing a series of recommendations, participants at the Congress underlined the importance of “working together to create a common and a human approach to problems and difficulties involved in migration”.
They call on dioceses to “intensify the collaboration between origin Church and host church” and to act in such a way that “formation programs of priests, religious and pastoral agents take into consideration the theological and pastoral dimensions of migrations”.
Through these recommendations, Church is called to be particularly vigilant in each diocese to each new comer. The Church secures the dignity of these men and women who often live experiences while at the same time crossing the borders. It is a challenge for the Church of Jerusalem to which the Pastoral of Migrants forcefully reacts to under the guidance of Fr David Neuhaus. However, each new help is welcome, because there is still lot of work to do.
Pierre Loup de Raucourt