106th World Day Of Migrants & Refugees, 27 September 2020

By Agnes Chai

Sep 11 2020

“Forced like Jesus Christ to flee”

BISHOP Bernard Paul released a message for the local observance of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated universally on September 27, 2020.

Bishop Paul is responsible to the Catholic Bishops Conference for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei as the Episcopal President for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants.

He informed that the theme “Forced like Jesus Christ to Flee” was chosen for this year, and called on the Church to connect with the countless displaced persons, dispersed all over the world.

He underlined that the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened and hit hard the migrants, the refugees, the displaced and victims of human trafficking.

“Many felt locked down and left behind. Others were left to live precariously, abandoned, marginalised and rejected. They were the fleeing…the forced….and the fragile. We have met them. Our paths have crossed with them. Did we see the Lord? The fleeing Lord? Dirty? Disfigured? Desperate? In dire strait? We met Him, when we stopped to care,” underscored the impassioned prelate.

The Migrant and Refugee Section of the Vatican has emphasized that “no one must be forgotten”.

He recalled Pope Francis suggested care for these “brothers and sisters” with four simple verbs: Welcome, Protect, Promote, Integrate, given in 2018. 

This year Pope Francis introduces six pairs of verbs: 1) Know to understand, 2) Be close to serve, 3) Listen to reconcile, 4) Share to grow, 5) Be involved to promote, and 6) Cooperate to build.

Bishop Paul reiterates the Holy Father’s care “A simple welcome sparks the care process. Get close to be close. He is them.”

In response to his plea to “build together God’s Kingdom”, the KK Archdiocesan Human Development Commission, with approval from Archbishop John Wong, is organizing a pre-recorded Mass specially for the migrants which will be uploaded to the Facebook and YouTube, and released to mark the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sep 27. The Commission will send out the link for circulation when it is ready.

Meanwhile, the Commission is also in the process of sending out the Migrant Kit for parishes, which is intended as a resource to help parishioners to reflect on and celebrate the life and story of all those who were “forced like Jesus Christ to flee”.