Article Published



Feature News | Tuesday, June 04, 2024

June prayer intention: For those fleeing their own countries

Pope Francis asks for prayers


VATICAN CITY | “For those fleeing their own countries” is Pope Francis’s prayer intention in The Pope Video for June, which is distributed by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

Pope Francis dedicates his prayer intention for the situation of migrants fleeing from war or hunger, that they might “may find welcome and new living opportunities.”

Walls on the earth, walls in hearts

The video message, produced in collaboration with Tele VID and with the support of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is a story about the borders in various parts of the world. Scenes show suffering faces, walking feet, bags filled with the little someone managed to take from home. But there are also scenes showing gestures of solidarity, hugs, welcome projects. The pope reminds Christians that “whoever welcomes a migrant welcomes Christ.”

In today’s society, even in nations that call themselves Christian, this seems to be a forgotten concept. In fact, today, Pope Francis criticizes that “in some destination countries, migrants are viewed as threats, with fear,” which gives rise to the “spectre of walls - walls on the earth separating families, and walls in hearts.” But Christians, the pope states, “cannot share this vision.”

Fleeing and uprooted

In recent years, the number of people who have been displaced has exceeded that during the Second World War. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in 2023 there were 110 million people forcefully displaced throughout the world. In this contest, Pope Francis asks that migrants be accompanied, promoted and integrated.

“The feeling of uprootedness or not knowing where they belong often accompanies the trauma experienced by people who are forced to flee their homeland because of war or poverty,” the pope laments at the beginning of the video launched in the month in which the United Nations commemorates World Refugee Day (20 June). This is the reason he asks that “we promote a social and political culture that protects the rights and dignity of migrants, a culture that promotes the possibility that they can achieve their full potential.”

A global nation

The topic of migrants and refugees has concerned the pope since the beginning of his pontificate. In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (2013), he said: “Migrants present a particular challenge for me, since I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. For this reason, I exhort all countries to a generous openness which, rather than fearing the loss of local identity, will prove capable of creating new forms of cultural synthesis.”

A few years later, in the encyclical Fratelli Tutti (2020), he invited us to have “a heart open to the whole world” and to respect “the right of all individuals to find a place [...] where they can find personal fulfilment.” It also underlines the need to develop a “culture of encounter” in which there are points of contact, bridges and that the planning of projects include everyone. In this context, the video renews the pope’s request to not be indifferent to the migration crisis.

God walks with his people

Consistent with the intention of this video message, each year since 1914, the Church invites us to pray for migrants on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. “God walks with his People” is the theme chosen for the day in 2024 which will be held on 29 September.

Cardinal Michael Czerny, the prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the World Day organizer, reflects, “Pope Francis reminds us that ‘God walks with his people.’ The Holy Family had to take refuge in a foreign land because Baby Jesus’s life was in danger. All of us are invited to welcome, protect, promote and integrate any person who has fled their homeland to save their lives or who are searching for a dignified future. By protecting the rights of migrants, the integral human development of every person is promoted and communities that welcome them are enriched in multiple ways.”

Nations with fraternal responsibility

Father Frédéric Fornos S.J., international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, reflects on the drama of migrants and states: “Migrants fleeing from war and hunger, often survivors of desperate journeys, are the object of political battles. It is important to remember that they are not numbers or statistics; they are people. Our personal and collective histories are marked by migration. Rather than treating migrants like a burden or a problem, we should find solutions based on compassion and respect for their human dignity. This vision is rooted in the Gospel and prayer and the Church’s magisterium reminds us of this.”

Father Fornos recalls Pope Francis’s reflection in Fratelli Tutti “The true worth of the different countries of our world is measured by their ability to think not simply as a country but also as part of the larger human family. This is seen especially in times of crisis ... Only a social and political culture that readily and freely welcomes others will have a future.”

Powered by Parish Mate | E-system

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply