"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
The 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be held on January 14. The theme is "welcoming, protecting, promoting, and integrating migrants and refugees. This is certainly a challenge for our times. Pope Francis' message for the Day, dated August 15, 1017, the solemnity of the Assumption, follows:
"... 'You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God' (Leviticus 19:34).
Throughout the first years of my pontificate, I have repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters, and poverty. This situation is undoubtedly a 'sign of the times' which I have tried to interpret, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ever since my visit to Lampedusa on July 8, 2013. When I instituted the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, I wanted a particular section - under my personal direction for the time being - to express the Church's concern for migrants, displaced people, refugees, and victims of human trafficking.
"Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43). The Lord entrusts to the Church's motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future. This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience - from departure through journey to arrival and return. This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom, and foresight, each according to their own abilities.
"In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that 'our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate.'
"Considering the current situation, welcoming means, above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally. This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families. At the same time, I hope that a greater number of countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programs, and open humanitarian corridors for particularly vulnerable refugees. Furthermore, special temporary visas should be granted to people fleeing conflicts in neighboring countries. Collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions, particularly where people are returned to countries which cannot guarantee respect for human dignity and fundamental rights. Once again, I want to emphasize the importance of offering migrants and refugees adequate and dignified initial accommodation. 'More widespread programs of welcome, already initiated in different places, seem to favor a personal encounter and allow for greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success.' The principle of the centrality of the human person, firmly stated by my beloved Predecessor, Benedict XVI, obliges us to always prioritize personal safety over national security. It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that agents in charge of border control are properly trained. The situation of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees requires that they be guaranteed personal safety and access to basic services. For the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorization.
"The second verb - protecting - may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status. Such protection begins in the country of origin, and consists in offering reliable and verified information before departure, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practices. This must be ongoing, as far as possible, in the country of migration, guaranteeing them adequate consular assistance, the right to personally retain their identity documents at all times, fair access to justice, the possibility of opening a personal bank account, and a minimum sufficient to live on. When duly recognized and valued, the potential and skills of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees are a true resource for the communities that welcome them. This is why I hope that, in countries of arrival, migrants may be offered freedom of movement, work opportunities, and access to means of communication, out of respect for their dignity. For those who decide to return to their homeland, I want to emphasize the need to develop social and professional reintegration programs. The International Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a universal legal basis for the protection of underage migrants. They must be spared any form of detention related to migratory status, and must be guaranteed regular access to primary and secondary education. Equally, when they come of age they must be guaranteed the right to remain and to enjoy the possibility of continuing their studies. Temporary custody or foster programs should be provided for unaccompanied minors and minors separated from their families. The universal right to a nationality should be recognized and duly certified for all children at birth. The statelessness which migrants and refugees sometimes fall into can easily be avoided with the adoption of 'nationality legislation that is in conformity with the fundamental principles of international law.' Migratory status should not limit access to national healthcare and pension plans, nor affect the transfer of their contributions if repatriated.
"Promoting essentially means a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees - as well as the communities which welcome them - are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator. Among these, we must recognize the true value of the religious dimension, ensuring to all foreigners in any country the freedom of religious belief and practice. Many migrants and refugees have abilities which must be appropriately recognized and valued. Since 'work, by its nature, is meant to unite peoples,' I encourage a determined effort to promote the social and professional inclusion of migrants and refugees, guaranteeing for all - including those seeking asylum - the possibility of employment, language instruction, and active citizenship, together with sufficient information provided in their mother tongue. In the case of underage migrants, their involvement in labor must be regulated to prevent exploitation and risks to their normal growth and development. In 2006, Benedict XVI highlighted how, in the context of migration, the family is 'a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values.' The family's integrity must always be promoted, supporting family reunifications - including grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings - independent of financial requirements. Migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees with disabilities must be granted greater assistance and support. While I recognize the praiseworthy efforts, thus far, of many countries, in terms of international cooperation and humanitarian aid, I hope that the offering of this assistance will take into account the needs (such as medical and social assistance, as well as education) of developing countries which receive a significant influx of migrants and refugees. I also hope that local communities which are vulnerable and facing material hardship, will be included among aid beneficiaries.
"The final verb - integrating - concerns the opportunities for intercultural enrichment brought about by the presence of migrants and refugees. Integration is not 'an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their "secret," to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better. This is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings.' This process can be accelerated by granting citizenship free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalization to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival. I reiterate the need to foster a culture of encounter in every way possible - by increasing opportunities for intercultural exchange, documenting and disseminating best practices of integration, and developing programs to prepare local communities for integration processes. I wish to stress the special case of people forced to abandon their country of arrival due to a humanitarian crisis. These people must be ensured adequate assistance for repatriation and effective reintegration programs in their home countries.
"In line with her pastoral tradition, the Church is ready to commit herself to realizing all the initiatives proposed above. Yet in order to achieve the desired outcome, the contribution of political communities and civil societies is indispensable, each according to their own responsibilities.
"At the United Nations Summit held in New York on September 19, 2016, world leaders clearly expressed their desire to take decisive action in support of migrants and refugees to save their lives and protect their rights, sharing this responsibility on a global level. To this end, the states committed themselves to drafting and approving, before the end of 2018, two Global Compacts, one for refugees and the other for migrants.
"Dear brothers and sisters, in light of these processes currently underway, the coming months offer a unique opportunity to advocate and support the concrete actions which I have described with four verbs. I invite you, therefore, to use every occasion to share this message with all political and social actors involved (or who seek to be involved) in the process which will lead to the approval of the two Global Compacts.
"Today, August 15, we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The Holy Mother of God herself experienced the hardship of exile (Matthew 2:13-15), lovingly accompanied her Son's journey to Calvary, and now shares eternally His glory. To her maternal intercession we entrust the hopes of all the world's migrants and refugees and the aspirations of the communities which welcome them, so that, responding to the Lord's supreme commandment, we may all learn to love the other, the stranger, as ourselves."
 Cf. Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia, Titulus Primus, I.
 Address to Participants in the International Forum on "Migration and Peace", February 21, 2017.
 Cf. Statement of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the 103rd Session of the Council of the IOM, November 26, 2013.
 Address to Participants in the International Forum on "Migration and Peace", February 21, 2017.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 47.
 Cf. Statement of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, June 22, 2012.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 62.
 Cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Instruction Erga Migrantes Caritas Christi, 6.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Participants in the 6th World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, November 9, 2009.
 Cf. Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2010) and Statement of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the 26th Ordinary Session of the Human Rights Council on the Human Rights of Migrants, June 13, 2014.
 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons, 2013, 70.
 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 14.
 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 27.
 Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2007).
 Cf. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons, 2013, 30-31.
 John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2005).
This year marks the centennial of the death of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini. Pope Francis sent a letter, dated August 29, to the superior of the order founded by Mother Cabrini. His letter follows:
"The centennial of the death of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini is one of the main events marking the journey of the Church both because of the greatness of the figure commemorated and because of the contemporary nature of her charism and message, not just for the ecclesial community but for society as a whole. Through this message of mine and my prayers, it is my wish therefore to participate in spirit in the General Assembly which as the Institute of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and its lay collaborators you will hold from September 17 to 23 this year in Chicago near the National Shrine named after your beloved Foundress and Patron Saint of Immigrants.
"Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini accepted a missionary vocation from God, which in those days could have been considered unusual - to train and send consecrated women all over the world setting no limits to missionary horizons, not just as auxiliaries of religious institutes or male missionaries but with their own charism as consecrated women religious. At the same time, these women were willing to collaborate fully and totally with both local churches and with various congregations dedicated to proclaim the gospel ad gentes. This clearly feminine, missionary consecration born in Mother Cabrini came from the total and loving union with the Heart of Christ whose compassion surpasses all limits. She lived and instilled in her sisters the impelling desire of reparation for the ills of the world and to overcome separation from Christ, an impetus that sustained the missionary in tasks beyond human strength. She took St. Paul's claim, 'I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me' (Philippians 4:13) as her motto. This motto was borne out by the surprising number and by the importance of the works that she undertook during her lifetime in Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, the United States, Central America, Argentina, and Brazil. But her love for the Heart of Christ translated into the evangelical fervor that shines out in the care Frances Xavier Cabrini gave to those who today are considered emarginated in society. One such example was when Mother Cabrini opened a house in the most infamous Italian quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, just one year after the cruel lynching of Italians accused of having murdered the city's Chief of Police.
"The charism of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini enlivened a total and intelligent dedication to the immigrants who left Italy for the New World. This choice was the fruit of her sincere and loving obedience to the Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII, and it extended to other fields of missionary work as well. Today's epoch-making population movements with the inevitable tensions they create make Mother Cabrini a very contemporary figure. In particular, the Saint focused attention on situations of greatest poverty and fragility such as the needs of orphans and miners. She combined that with a lucid cultural sensitivity by continuous dialog with local authorities. She undertook to conserve and revive in the immigrants the Christian tradition they knew in their country of origin, a religiosity which was sometimes superficial and often imbued with authentic popular mysticism. At the same time, she offered ways to fully integrate with the culture of the new countries so that the Missionary Mothers accompanied the Italian immigrants in becoming fully Italian and fully American. The human and Christian vitality of the immigrants thus became a gift to the churches and to the peoples who welcomed them. The great migrations underway today need guidance filled with love and intelligence similar to what characterizes the Cabrinian charism. In this way the meeting of peoples will enrich all and generate union and dialog, not separation and hostility. Nor must we forget that the missionary sensitivity of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was not sectorial but universal; that is the vocation of every Christian and of every community of the disciples of Jesus.
"The present centennial celebration is an invitation to take a new look at all this with intimate and joyful gratitude to God. This is a great gift above all for you, the spiritual daughters of Mother Cabrini. May your whole Institute, every community and every religious receive an abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit that revitalizes faith and the following of Jesus in accordance with the missionary charism of your Foundress. May your many faithful lay collaborators share and support your evangelical work in the current social context. For my part, I assure you of my remembrance and prayers with deep affection, both because I have always known the figure of Mother Cabrini and because of the special concern I devote to the cause of immigrants. While I ask you to pray for me and for my ministry, from my heart I send a special Apostolic Blessing to your Assembly, to the Congregation and to the whole Cabrinian family."
Efforts to combat an alarming increase in human trafficking must be made. This was the message of the Vatican at a two day meeting in Vienna, Austria. The meeting on September 4-5 was for the Fifth Thematic Session on the Global Compact for safe, orderly, and regular migration. Father Michael Czerny, S.J., Undersecretary of the Migrant and Refugee Section of the Vatican said:
"In the preparation of the Global Compact for safe, orderly, and regular migration, the Holy See very much welcomes the deep consideration of issues like trafficking and contemporary slavery which cause so much suffering for an ever increasing number of hapless victims in every part of the world. Today's complex migration scenario is sadly characterized by 'new forms of slavery imposed by criminal organizations, which buy and sell men, women and children.' 
"Despite the great achievements of international agreements, asylum seekers, and migrants, who risk their lives in search of safety and a new home, are still and ever more vulnerable, especially to criminal organizations.
"The migration process usually begins with high hopes and expectations for greater security and better opportunities. Since safe, regular, and affordable routes are generally not available, many migrants employ smugglers. Elements of human trafficking are present in much of contemporary human smuggling, and this is one reason why the migration project can go disastrously wrong. Traffickers can easily take advantage of the desperation of migrants and asylum seekers. Ending up in an irregular or undocumented status, they are at a very high risk of abuse and exploitation, including trafficking and enslavement. Therefore, the Holy See stresses the importance of ensuring adequate legal frameworks and reliable pathways to prevent migrants from becoming victims of human trafficking.
"Factors contributing to vulnerability, like poverty, statelessness, joblessness, lack of education, discrimination of women and girls, do not in and of themselves necessarily lead to trafficking. Rather, it is the interplay of factors, mutually reinforcing each other, that increases vulnerability. At the same time, each society needs to recognize the forces of demand -- for example, for prostitution, or for labor below the minimum national standards -- that are at work domestically to make human trafficking very profitable.
"The numbers of smuggled and trafficked migrants keeps on increasing alarmingly. According to the 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 51 percent of the victims are women, 21 percent are men, 20 percent girls and 8 percent boys.
"Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry, among the world's largest, with an estimated 21 to 46 million people, victims of forced labor, debt-bondage, sex, and other forms of trafficking. Slavery must not be an unavoidable aspect of economies. Instead, business should be in the vanguard in combating and preventing this travesty. Investigations have to be coordinated at national, regional, and international levels. Data and key information sharing and key information sharing must be assured as well as legal protection for victims, while perpetrators are prosecuted and brought to justice. To protect human dignity, the training of public officers, and establishing national policies to guarantee foreigners access to justice, are very important.
"Assistance to victims must be guaranteed in receiving countries, and the principle of 'non-refoulement' has to be applied to victims of trafficking, assuring them psychological counselling and other support and rehabilitation. Victims should be allowed to stay regularly in the country as long as they need healing therapy and eventually have their stay extended with the opportunity to work.
" 'We ought to recognize that we are facing a global phenomenon which exceeds the competence of any one community or country. In order to eliminate it, we need a mobilization comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself." Therefore the contributions of political bodies, business, academia, civil society, and communities of faith are all indispensable, each according to their own capacities and responsibilities.
"A measure of the GCM's success will be if tomorrow's migratory movements are no longer inevitably marked by human smuggling as today's clearly are. For irregular migration is not freely chosen but rather forced on people because legal and secure channels are simply not accessible.
"The Holy See looks forward to participating in the high-level meeting to review the progress made on the implementation of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, September 27-28 in New York, where it will reiterate its strong commitments.
 Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2016, September 12, 2015.
 E.g., UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 2016. "Measuring the total volume of trafficking in persons is not an easy task as any assessment of this crime needs to account for the coexistence of its three defining elements, the act, the means and the purpose" (p. 30). "A total of more than 570 different trafficking flows could be discerned from this data. This is a marked increase from previous editions of the Global Report, where 460 flows were detected for the period 2007-2010, and 510 for the period 2010-2012" (pp. 39-40).
 The literature reveals that the current de facto response of most businesses focuses on monitoring supply chains for forced labor. While material, these measures do not address sufficiently the wider socio-economic and cultural factors that engender trafficking. They fall short of the promise of business to engage as a strong and positive influence on society as posited by the SDGs.
 Pope Francis, Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2015.
The Museum of the Bible opens this November in Washington, D.C. Museum president Gary Summers says, "Our mission is to invite all people to engage with the Bible. We can think of no more fundamental way to give people access to the treasures and experiences inside this museum than to offer public admission coupled with the ability to reserve timed entry tickets." For those who cannot visit in person the museum also has a traveling exhibits and a virtual on-line. The importance of the Bible was not so long ago an integral part of Western civilization.
As D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe wrote in What If the Bible Had Never Been Written?, "We feel like strangers in a strange land, even though it was the Bible that shaped our nation, our culture, and our institutions from the start. What we need as a culture is to get back to the Bible."
Answering their question, they write "There would be no salvation, ... virtually no charity, no modern science, ... likely no hospitals, ... no universities, ... no capitalism, no accounting, no free enterprise. Literacy and education might well be the exclusive domain of the elite."
Judge Joseph Wapner points out the trial by jury, "taken for granted in America and Great Britain, one of the strongest safeguards against government's arbitrary authority, remains a rare privilege in much of the rest of the world." This comes from the Bible, specifically Leviticus 19:15.
The Supreme Court in 1892 declared, "We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth ... This is a Christian nation." In 1983 the U.S. Congress declared a year of the Bible saying, "The Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation." Deeply held religious convictions springing from the Holy Scriptures led to the early settlements of our Nation. In 1986 U.S. District Judge Frank McGarr concurred, "the truth is that America's origins are Christian and that our founding fathers intended and achieved full religious freedom for all within the context of a Christian nation in the first amendment as it was adopted," but added, "rather than as we have rewritten it"
Ulysses S. Grant said, "Hold fast to the Bible as the anchor of your liberty; write its precepts in your hearts and practice them in your life." Theodore Roosevelt said, "If a man is not familiar with the Bible, he has suffered the loss which he had better make all possible haste to correct." Ronald Reagan said, "Inside the Bible's pages lie all of the answers to all the problems man has ever known. I hope Americans will read and study the Bible."
Scientist Robert Oppenheimer wrote that the origins of the scientific revolution "took something that was not present in Chinese civilization, that was wholly absent in Indian civilization, and absent from Greco-Roman civilization. It took an idea of progress which has more to do with the human condition, which is well expressed by the second half of the famous Christian dichotomy - faith and works."
Galileo wrote, "Holy Scripture could never lie or err, but its decrees are of absolute and inviolable truth. I should only have added that although Scripture can indeed not err, nevertheless some of its interpreters and expositors may sometimes err in various ways, one of which may be very serious and quite frequent, when they would base themselves always on the literal meaning of words."
Isaac Newton wrote, "There is a double revelation of God the one contained in His words found in Scripture, the other to be found in nature and its general laws."
In literature, Shakespeare, for example, had Polonius quote Ecclesiaticus 37:13 in Hamlet. Dostoevsky begins The Brothers Karamazov with John 12:24. Charles Dickens wrote, "The New Testament is the best book the world has ever known or will know."
Ernest Von Dobschultz in The Influence of the Bible on Civilization wrote, "There is a small book - one can put it in your pocket, and yet all the libraries of America, numerous as they are, would hardly be large enough to hold all the books which have been inspired by this one little volume."
Both Leif Erickson and Christopher Columbus sought to spread the Good News and discovered the New World. Missionaries like Patrick and Boniface changed barbarous Europe into Christendom and may do so again.
Pope Francis addressed the National Directors of Pastoral Care for Migrants of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Europe on September 22 in Vatican City. His talk follows:
"... I am pleased to welcome you here on the occasion of your meeting, and I thank the Cardinal President for his kind words on your behalf. I am very grateful to all of you for the great effort you have made in recent years to help the many migrants and refugees who knock at Europe's doors in search of a place of safety and a more dignified life.
"The complex and varied phenomenon of continued migration has overwhelmed existing immigration policies and measures for the protection of migrants ratified by international agreements. In the face of this crisis, the Church is committed to remain faithful to her mission 'to love Jesus Christ, to adore and love Him, particularly in the poorest and most abandoned' (Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2015).
"The Church's maternal love for these, our brothers and sisters, must be concretely shown at every stage of their journey, from start to finish, in such a manner that ecclesial communities and organizations at every step of the way take an active part in this one mission, each to the best of its ability. Seeing and serving the Lord in these members of His 'pilgrim people' is a responsibility that unites all the particular Churches in the effort to provide a constant, coordinated and effective outreach.
" ... I cannot fail to express my concern about manifestations of intolerance, discrimination, and xenophobia that have appeared in various parts of Europe. Often this reaction is motivated by mistrust and fear of the other, the foreigner, those who are different. I am even more worried about the disturbing fact that our Catholic communities in Europe are not exempt from these defensive and negative reactions, supposedly justified by a vague moral obligation to preserve an established religious and cultural identity. The Church has spread to all continents thanks to the 'migration' of missionaries convinced of the universality of the saving message of Jesus Christ, meant for men and women of every culture. Throughout the history of the Church, there have been temptations to exclusivity and cultural rigidity, but the Holy Spirit has always helped overcome them by ensuring constant openness to others, viewed as a positive opportunity for growth and enrichment.
"I am sure that the Holy Spirit also helps us today to maintain a confident attitude of openness, capable of surmounting every barrier and breaking down every wall.
"In listening attentively to the particular Churches in Europe, I sense a deep unease about the massive influx of migrants and refugees. That unease needs to be acknowledged and appreciated in the light of this moment of history, marked by an economic crisis that has left deep wounds. It has also been aggravated by the sheer size and makeup of the continuing waves of migrants, the general unpreparedness of the countries that receive them, and by often inadequate national and community policies. But the unease is also indicative of the limits of the process of European unification, and points up the obstacles hindering the concrete application of universal human rights and the expression of that integral humanism which is among the finest fruits of European civilization. For Christians all these factors must be interpreted, in opposition to a self-enclosed and secularist mentality, in the light of the unique, God-given dignity of each human person.
"From a distinctively ecclesiological perspective, the arrival of great numbers of our brothers and sisters in the faith offers the Churches in Europe yet another opportunity to embody fully its catholicity, which, as we profess in the creed each Sunday, is a fundamental mark of the Church. In recent years, many dioceses in Europe have already found themselves enriched by the presence of Catholic immigrants who have brought with them their devotions, and their liturgical and apostolic enthusiasm.
"From a missionary perspective, 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. The encounter with migrants and refugees of other denominations and religions represents a fertile ground for the growth of open and enriching ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
"In my Message for the 2018 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, I suggested that our pastoral response to the challenges of contemporary movements of migration can be expressed by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate. Welcoming means expanding legal and secure programs of reception for those who arrive, as well as offering suitable and dignified accommodations that guarantee their personal safety and access to basic services. Protecting involves offering trustworthy and verified information to migrants and refugees prior to their departure, defending their basic rights independent of their legal status, and watching over the most vulnerable, the young children. Promoting essentially means ensuring the conditions for the integral human development of all, migrants and natives alike. Integrating entails expanding opportunities for intercultural encounter, fostering mutual enrichment and promoting active citizenship.
"In the same Message, I also emphasized the importance of the global agreements that States have committed themselves to draft and approve by the end of 2018. The Section for Migrants and Refugees of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has prepared twenty action points that various local Churches can utilize, integrate, and develop in their pastoral outreach. The points are based on the 'best practices' that characterize the Church's tangible response to the needs of migrants and refugees. These points can also prove helpful for discussions that various ecclesial institutions can have with government authorities in view of these global agreements. I would encourage you to familiarize yourselves with these points and to promote them through your episcopal conferences.
"Those action points also make up a 'paradigm' of the four verbs I mentioned above, a paradigm that can serve as a criterion and yardstick for the pastoral practices of the local Churches and an aid in updating and improving them. May the spirit of communion in reflection and action be a source of strength for all of you, since challenges faced alone always appear more daunting. May your interventions continue to be timely and prophetic, and, above all, the fruit of actions consistent with, and inspired by, the principles of Christian doctrine.
"Once again, I express my appreciation of your generous commitment to the complex and urgent work of offering pastoral care to migrants. I assure you of my prayers for your intentions, and I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me."
(A Christian Perspective on World News)
WASHINGTON - In a statement on October 3 to mark Respect Life Month, October 2017, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York reiterated the need to build a culture of life throughout the year. Cardinal Dolan chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The Cardinal's statement launches the year-long 2017-18 Respect Life Program ( www.usccb.org/respectlife), which provides materials exploring the theme, "Be Not Afraid."
"Looking back over the last year, there's been a lot of uncertainty, suffering, and heartache. Between tragedies that occur in the public eye and trials that take place in our personal lives, there's no shortage of reasons we cry out to God," Cardinal Dolan said. "At such times, we may feel alone and unequipped... But we have an anchor of hope to cling to. ...God says to us, 'Do not fear: I am with you' (Isaiah 41:10)."
"There are times we may doubt the value of our own lives or falter at the thought of welcoming and embracing the life of another. But...He makes all things beautiful. He makes all things new. He is the God of redemption," the Cardinal said. "That's powerful. That's something to hold onto."
"As followers of Jesus Christ, ...we are called to be missionary disciples...commissioned to reach out to one another, especially to the weak and vulnerable," Cardinal Dolan said.
Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program highlights the value and dignity of human life throughout the year. Materials are intended for use across the spectrum of Catholic life, work, ministry, and education.
The 2017-18 Respect Life Program features six articles on a range of issues. They address practical steps to build a culture of life, compelling reasons to oppose assisted suicide, principles to consider at the end of life, an overview of the role of conscience, offering genuine support to a friend who's considering abortion, and a Catholic Q & A on the death penalty. Many digital and print resources are offered, including toolkits for priests and deacons, parishes, Catholic education, Respect Life ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, faith formation, and communications.
The full text of Cardinal Dolan's statement is available along with many other resources at www.usccb.org/respectlife.
(Source: USCCB press release)
WASHINGTON -After Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the EPA will formally seek to revoke the Clean Power Plan, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed disappointment about the decision and called on leaders to "hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."
The full statement follows:
"The USCCB, in unity with Pope Francis, strongly supports environmental stewardship, and has for several years called on our nation to help curb carbon emissions through a national carbon standard. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Pruitt announced that the EPA will now take steps to revoke the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the national program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% in relation to 2015 levels by the year 2030.
The CPP may not have been the only possible mechanism for addressing carbon emissions, but, unfortunately, the Administration does not propose an adequate alternative as it seeks to dismantle the CPP. Having already withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, this change in course by the EPA solidifies the already troubling approach of our nation in addressing climate change, and places at risk many people, including the poor who can least bear the consequences of inaction.
Many states have already made great progress toward carbon mitigation goals under the CPP, making this decision even more difficult. Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato si', calls us to action in caring for our common home. A national carbon standard is a critical step for the U.S. at this time. Facing this shift from the Trump Administration, our leaders should heed the Holy Father's moral call and seek new legislative solutions that will help the nation and world 'hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor' once more."
(Source: USCCB press release)
WASHINGTON - On Sunday evening (October 10), the White House released Immigration Principles and Policies that are a proposed list of priorities to be considered when working on legislative protection for Dreamers. Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, issued the following statement urging Congress to "ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all."
Full statement follows:
"The Administration's Immigration Principles and Policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country's immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society, and our Church.
"Since July, Congress has introduced legislative solutions for Dreamers, including the Dream Act. The Administration should focus attention on ensuring that a legislative solution for Dreamers is found as soon as possible. Every day that passes without that solution, these youth experience growing apprehension for their futures and their families. Each passing day brings us all a step closer to March 2018, when DACA recipients will begin to lose legal work privileges, and far worse, face the threat of deportation and family separation.
"For this reason, we exhort Congress to take up legislation and move forward promptly to ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all. Together with so many others of good will, we shall continue to offer welcome and support to these remarkable young people, and we shall not stop advocating for their permanent protection and eventual citizenship."
(Source: USCCB press release)
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