U.S. Catholics Join with Pope Francis in Campaign to “Share the Journey” of Migrants and Refugees

September 27, 2017
By SS. Peter and Paul

WASHINGTON—Today, several dozen bishops across the
United States are joining Pope Francis as he launched the two-year “Share the
Journey” campaign, holding events and reaching out to support migrants and
refugees in their own dioceses as the campaign aims to raise awareness about
their plight worldwide.

Kicked off around the world by the
global Caritas network, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
(USCCB), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) are
sponsoring the campaign in the United States. Both CRS, working in more than
100 countries around the world, and CCUSA, the Catholic Church’s domestic
agency, are members of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s worldwide charity
organization that is the overall sponsor of the campaign.

“This campaign is both spiritual and
practical,” says Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who is
president of the USCCB. “The Pope is
asking us to pray and reflect and to use the awareness we build to take action,
both personally and publically. To our Church, this campaign is an embodiment
of the Biblical command to love our neighbor.”

Pope Francis kicked off “Share the
Journey” at the Vatican today with a symbolic gesture of reaching out to those
displaced from their homes, who now number some 65 million around the world,
the biggest such crisis since World War II. That will be followed by a week of
prayer and action for migrants and refugees in Catholic churches and parishes
around the world from Oct. 7 to Oct. 14.

“The Holy Father wants us to feel this
personally,” says Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO of Catholic
Charities USA. “Each of us must work to encounter the migrants and refugees who
are all around us. All too often, they seem invisible to us. We need to hear
their stories, literally share their journeys, and see them as our brothers and
sisters.”

From Seattle to Miami, bishops are
holding masses, prayer vigils and events with local migrants and refugees. Two
dioceses in Florida, for example, illustrate the support the Catholic Church is
lending to the campaign. The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in
Jacksonville, part of the St. Augustine diocese, is working through its local
Catholic Charities to invite refugees and migrants to a special 7 p.m. mass
where they will be welcomed to share their stories.

In Venice, the diocese is launching a
photo exhibition and slideshow focused on the issue, along with a video about a
young woman, the adult child of migrant workers, who is now Program Director
for Catholic Charities Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee, FL. The campaign
also calls for governments and international organizations to take
responsibility for caring for forced migrants, most of whom are fleeing
disasters – war, famine, violence – beyond their control.

“At CRS, we work with both the
internally displaced and refugees around the world,” CRS President Sean
Callahan says. “We know firsthand that these are innocent victims, that they
should be treated with respect and dignity, that they are the people the Bible
calls us to love. By heeding Pope Francis’ call to share their journey, we can
all come to understand that.”

More information about “Share the
Journey” is available on sharejourney.org.

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About Catholic Charities USA

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), a member of Caritas
Internationalis, is the national office for the Catholic Charities ministry
nationwide. CCUSA’s members provide help and create hope to more than 8 million
people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. To
learn more, please visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org and follow CCUSA on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

About Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services is the official international
humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency
alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100
countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished
through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education,
microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit www.crs.org or
www.crsespanol.org and
follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief,
@CRSnews and @CRSnoticias, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

About the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops

The
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is an assembly of the
hierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise
certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United
States. The purpose of the Conference is to promote the greater good which the
Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the
apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place. This
purpose is drawn from the universal law of the Church and applies to the
episcopal conferences which are established all over the world for the same
purpose. For more information, visit www.usccb.org and www.justiceforimmigrants.org Follow
the USCCB on Facebook, Twitter @USCCB, Instagram.

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Media
Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Source:: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops