Rome, 2nd October 2018 – Fr Michael Czerny S.J., Under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section, and Fr Robert Stark, Regional Coordinator for North and Central America at the Migrants and Refugees Section, took part in a meeting with young refugees at Centro Astalli in Rome.
Fr Michael and Fr Robert have been especially selected to participate in the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, which starts tomorrow. They have been asked by the Holy Father to bring the perspective of Vulnerable Youth on the Move to the Synod.
During the meeting, Fr Michael and Fr Robert asked the young refugees to answer three key questions which the Synod is asking:
- What is your current situation? What is the reality of your life?
- What are your hopes, plans and dreams for the future?
- How can the Church help you and accompany you in achieving these dreams?
Fr Michael and Fr Robert heard moving stories of survival, struggle and eventual integration from the young refugees. All of them emphasised the role of the Church in helping them feel welcome in Italy, and many personally thanked Pope Francis because “he loves us and fights for us”. The refugees also emphasised the importance of finding work and having stability as a way to plan for the future, a concern that resonates with young people all over the world, even those who are not on the move.
Many refugees talked about the importance of meeting others, because the meeting can be transformative. A young refugee spoke of his experience working for Finestre, an initiative bringing refugees to schools to speak to young people about their experience: “It is about showing that we are all humans, we all breathe the same air, we all share the same blood”.