Pope Francis called for a “more inclusive Church” that goes out into the “existential peripheries” in his message for the “World Day of Migrants and Refugees” this year.
The pontiff highlighted the importance of “inclusiveness” and “fraternity,” saying that an ever wider “we” will help renew the human family and build a future of justice and peace.
“The Church is called to go out into the streets of every existential periphery in order to heal wounds and to seek out the straying,” said the pope in a message released on May 6.
He warned the faithful against “proselytizing” and for the Church to be “ready to widen her tent to embrace everyone.”
In his message, the pontiff noted that the coronavirus pandemic highlighted divisions among peoples, especially among those dwelling in the “existential peripheries.”
He said that it is them “to whom the Lord wants his love to be manifested and his salvation preached.”
“Our ‘we,’ both in the wider world and within the Church, is crumbling and cracking due to myopic and aggressive forms of nationalism and radical individualism,” said the pope.
“And the highest price is being paid by those who most easily become viewed as others: foreigners, migrants, the marginalized, those living on the existential peripheries.”
He said greater solidarity is also necessary “to ensure the proper care of our common home.”
“Ours must be a personal and collective commitment that cares for all our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer, even as we work towards a more sustainable, balanced and inclusive development,” he said.
“A commitment that makes no distinction between natives and foreigners, between residents and guests, since it is a matter of a treasure we hold in common, from whose care and benefits no one should be excluded,” said Pope Francis.
The pope also appealed to those outside the Church to work with Catholics to build “a future of justice and peace” and make societies “have a ‘colorful’ future, enriched by diversity and by cultural exchanges.”
“Consequently, we must even now learn to live together in harmony and peace,” he said.
In his message, Pope Francis hit what he described as “aggressive forms of nationalism and radical individualism” that affected migrants worldwide.
He said, however, that today’s migration movements “offer an opportunity for us to overcome our fears and let ourselves be enriched by the diversity of each person’s gifts.”
“Then, if we so desire, we can transform borders into privileged places of encounter, where the miracle of an ever wider ‘we’ can come about,” he added.
The pontiff cited his encyclical “Fratelli tutti” where he expressed a concern and a hope that once the health crisis passes, “we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those,’ but only ‘us.’”
He said he devotes the message for this year’s “World Day of Migrants and Refugees” to the theme, “Towards An Ever Wider ‘We,’ “to indicate a clear horizon for our common journey in this world.”
The World Day for Migrants and Refugees was instituted in 1914 by Pope Pius X and is celebrated every year on the last Sunday of September to show concern and solidarity for vulnerable people on the move.