USCCB request for Venezuelan Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops are urging the US government to protect around 150,000 Venezuelans from deportation to their home country, which is in the grips of an economic and political crisis.

On Thursday, a Letter was sent  by Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, and Sean Callahan, CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security.

Temporary Protected Status.  In it, they ask the US government for an 18-month designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela. The TPS designation would allow some-150,000 qualifying Venezuelan immigrants to live and work in the US while their home country is deemed unsafe.

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“Christ is alive”, new apostolic exhortation is released

Christ is alive. “Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world.  The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!”.

Thus begins the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Christus vivit ”, by Pope Francis, signed on Monday 25 March in the Holy House of Loreto and addressed to young people , and to “the entire People of God”. In the document, composed of nine chapters divided into 299 paragraphs, the Pope explains that he allowed himself to be “inspired by the wealth of reflections and conversations of the Synod” on Young People, celebrated in the Vatican in October 2018.

“Let us also keep in mind that Jesus had no use for adults who looked down on the young or lorded it over them.  On the contrary, he insisted that “the greatest among you must become like the youngest” (Lk 22:26). 

The Exhortation has nine (9) different chapter: Chapter one:“What does the Word of God have to say about young people?” Chapter two: “Jesus, ever young”Chapter three: “You are the ‘now’ of God”Chapter four: “A great message for all young people”;  Chapter 5: Paths of Youth; Chapter six:“Young people with roots”Chapter seven:“Youth ministry”Chapter eight: “Vocation”Chapter nine: “Discernment”

Specifically on chapter three, the Pope goes on to present “migrants as an epitome of our time”, and recalls the many young people involved in migration. “The Church’s concern is focused especially on those fleeing from war, violence, political or religious persecution, from natural disasters including those caused by climate change, and from extreme poverty” (91): they search for an opportunity, a dream of a better future. Other migrants are “attracted by Western culture, sometimes with unrealistic expectations that expose them to grave disappointments. Unscrupulous traffickers, frequently linked to drug cartels or arms cartels, exploit the weakness of migrants… The particular vulnerability of migrants who are unaccompanied minors is worth noting… In some host countries, migration causes fear and alarm, often fomented and exploited for political ends. This can lead to a xenophobic mentality, as people close in on themselves, and this needs to be addressed decisively” (92).  Young migrants often also experience a cultural and religious uprooting (93). Francis asks young people “not to play into the hands of those who would set them against other young people, newly arrived in their countries, and who would encourage them to view the latter as a threat” (94).

The exhortation concludes with “a wish” from Pope Francis: “Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful.   Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith… And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us”.

Click: To read the synthesis of the Exhortation CHRIST IS ALIVE!

Click: To access the COMPLETE TEXT

World Day of Migrants and Refugees: ‘It is not just about migrants’

“It is not just about migrants”. This  is  the theme for  the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, to be celebrated on Sunday, 29 September 2019.

The theme was announced on Sunday by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

As Fr. Michael Czerny SJ, Under-Secretary of the Section, which is headed by Pope Francis himself, explained, with this theme, Pope Francis wants to highlight that his frequent appeals for migrants, refugees, displaced and trafficked people should be understood as integral to his deep concern for all the inhabitants of today’s existential peripheries.

Fr Czerny explained that observing the Day and the Pope’s message aim to help us realize how deeply we are all involved, “as Christian communities and societies, and that we are all called to respond and to reflect how our faith life and commitments are engaged in responding to vulnerable people on the move”.

Seeing the face of Jesus in migrants and vulnerable people. Fr Czerny said that when the Pope reminds us, repeatedly, of what Jesus himself was saying with the words ‘when I was a stranger you welcomed me’, this is a very direct application of Our Lord’s words”, and that indeed, “when people are knocking at our door because they are seeking protection, shelter and a better future, we are welcoming Him: It’s very simple and very radical”.

 

Source. Vatican News

Pope: Be free from fear of migrants and refugees

Do not be afraid. In his homily, the Pope focused on the readings chosen for the celebration, which he summed up in a single sentence: “Do not be afraid”.

Pope Francis used the image of the Israelites at the Red Sea, in the Book of Exodus, to illustrate how we are “called to look beyond the adversities of the moment, to overcome fear and to place full trust in the saving and mysterious action of the Lord”.

Free from fear. Turning to the Gospel of St Matthew, the Pope described the disciples crying out in fear at the sight of Jesus walking on the waters, and His response to them: “Courage, it is I, do not be afraid”. Reminding his listeners that “Free from fear” is the theme chosen for this meeting, Pope Francis said it is “through these biblical episodes that the Lord speaks to us today and asks us to let Him free us from our fears”.

Fear of others.  “Faced with the wickedness and ugliness of our time”, said Pope Francis, we too, “are tempted to abandon our dream of freedom”. We are tempted to “shut ourselves off within ourselves”, he said, “in our fragile human security…in our reassuring routine”.

The Pope called this retreat into oneself, “a sign of defeat”, one that increases our fear of “others”, foreigners, outcasts and strangers. “This is particularly evident today”, he continued, with the arrival of migrants and refugees “who knock on our door in search of protection, security and a better future”.

Vatican published new Pastoral Orientations against human trafficking

The aim of “understanding. The Vatican has issued a new document regarding “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking”, with the aim of “understanding, recognizing, preventing, and eradicating the plague of the trafficking of persons, protecting the victims, and promoting the recovery of survivors.”

New Pastoral Orientations. The 36-page document, which was presented at a press conference at the Holy See Press Office, is an expression of the “enormous importance” Pope Francis attaches to the “plight of the millions of men, women, and children who are trafficked and enslaved.” According to the preface of the Pastoral Orientations, the purpose of the document is “to provide a reading of Human Trafficking and an understanding that motivate and sustain the much-needed long-term struggle.”

The Pastoral Orientations are the result of extensive consultations with “Church leaders, scholars, and experienced practitioners and partner organizations working in the field.”

 

Source. Vatican News

Pope Francis: address the Ambassadors to welcome and integrate is our moral responsibility

Vatican. On his address to the Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See: Switzerland, Malta, The Bahamas, Cabo Verde, Estonia, Iceland, Turkmenistan, Grenada, Qatar and The Gambia, the Holy FAther convey  his sentiments of esteem to the respective Heads of State.

«No effective humanitarian solution» to the «pressing problem» of the current mass migration crisis «can ignore our moral responsibility, with due attention to the common good, to welcome, protect, promote and integrate those who knock on our doors in seeks a secure future for themselves and for their children “: the Pope affirmed in his address to a group of ambassadors to the Holy See, which he received on the occasion of the presentations of the credential letters for the launching of the mission.

Francis recalled the “fundamental” UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights adopted by the United Nations 70 years ago, expressing the hope that “the lessons learned from the two great wars of the twentieth century” will convince today’s leaders “of the uselessness of armed conflicts “.

 

THE INTEGRAL TEXT OF THE DISCOURSE  IS AVAILABLE IN  SITE OF THE HOLY SEE

 

Chiesa, Papa: Il vescovo non si stanca di ascoltare

Il vescovo “non si stanca di ascoltare. Non si basa su progetti fatti a tavolino, ma si lascia interpellare dalla voce dello Spirito, che ama parlare attraverso la fede dei semplici. Diventa tutt’uno con la sua gente e anzitutto col suo presbiterio, sempre disponibile a ricevere e incoraggiare i suoi sacerdoti”. E’ quanto ha detto Papa Francesco durante un discorso ai vescovi in terra di missione. Per il Pontefice un vescovo “promuove con l’esempio, più che con le parole, una genuina fraternità sacerdotale, mostrando ai preti che si è Pastori per il gregge, non per ragioni di prestigio o di carriera, che è tanto brutto. Non siate arrampicatori, per favore, nè ambiziosi: pascete il gregge di Dio non come padroni delle persone a voi affidate, ma facendovi modelli del gregge”.

Pope: We need unity, not soloists out of the choir

“The bishop can not have all the gifts, all the charisms – some believe they have, poor things! – but he is called to have the charism of the unity, that is to hold together, to promote  the communion of the Church, we noeed not soloists out of the choir or of leaders of personal battles “. This is what Pope Francis said during the audience with the bishops of the Mission Territories who attended the Seminar promoted by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the Vatican. “The Pastor gathers: a bishop for his faithful, he is a Christian with his faithful, he does not make news in the newspapers, he does not seek the consensus of the world, he is not interested in protecting his good name, but he loves to weave the communion by involving himself and acting with resignation, he does not suffer from lack of protagonism, but lives rooted in the territory, rejecting the temptation to move away frequently from the Diocese, the temptation of the ‘airport bishops’ and fleeing the search for his own glories “.

CEI released documents on “Migrants, from fear to welcome” 

Last  Thursday, the statement, entitled “Migrants, from fear to welcome” notes that we are becoming accustomed to images of an ongoing tragedy in which so many die or witness death during their journeys of hope.

Become accustomed to tragedy:

“The barred eyes and the vitreous gaze of those who see themselves grabbed, in extremis, from the abyss that has swallowed up other human lives, the bishops say, are only the last image of a tragedy to which we must not become accustomed to.”

“We feel responsible for this army of poor people, victims of war and hunger, of deserts and torture” they say.

As Pastors of the Church, they continue, we do not pretend to offer cheap solutions. With regard to what is happening, however, we do not intend to look the other way or to make contemptuous words and aggressive attitudes our own. We cannot allow anxiety and fear to influence our choices, determine our responses, foster a climate of mistrust and contempt, anger and rejection”.

It is the tormented history of men, women and children, a history that cries out against the closing of borders and the erection of walls, and that demands we dare, the bishops say, offer solidarity, justice and peace.

The new Italian government’s anti-immigration stance has seen a number of rescue vessels carrying migrants adrift for days in the Mediterranean after being denied entry to Italy, purportedly to discourage traffickers.

 

Pope Francis urges us to Share the Journey with migrants