Translating the culture of encounter into action

army migration venezuela Migrants and Refugees

Translating the culture of encounter into action

Fr. Michael Czerny, S.J., Under-Secretary of the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development of the Vatican, participated in the 105th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate in mid-April. He spoke about the work of the Church in support of our brothers and sisters who are forced to leave their place of origin in search of a better life for themselves and their families.

As a lead Vatican official for issues of migrants and refugees, Fr. Czerny conveyed Pope Francis’s compelling vision of the Catholic Church’s support for those going through difficult trials of human mobility: “Our shared response may be articulated by four verbs:
to welcome
, to protect, to promote and o integrate

On this basis, the M&R Section has developed 20 Points for Pastoral Action. They establish “a working platform on which we can come together, review our experiences, and discern what the Lord wants of us.” They also provide “a simple but complete system or framework … which can help to facilitate the work of planning and evaluating the pastoral response being offered by a local Church, a Bishops’ Conference, a diocese, or a parish.” Finally, they can also be used “in other contexts and by Catholic and non-Catholic organizations that want to work in this sector.”

Father Czerny highlighted the dialogue among the Bishops along the U.S.-Mexico border. Coordinated cross-border pastoral action is an effective way to resist the fortification and militarization of borders, which can lead to serious human rights violations. 

“These dialogues, of utmost importance, represent an active and creative form of resistance to the madness of militarization and the fortification of borders, in the name of a supposed national security, seeking remedies to the terrible treatment infringed upon the human rights of the poor who are trying to pass. These dialogues and cross-border cooperation are bearing fruit, and as a Section we intend to support them here and promote them in other parts of the world.”

Such mutual support between American and Mexican Bishops is a good example, Father Czerny concluded, of what the M&R Section wants to “promote in other parts of the world as well.”

Read the full speech of Father Michael Czerny