Pope Francis Launches “Share the Journey” Campaign to Welcome Migrants

via Joshua McElwee:

Pope Francis launched a two-year campaign led by the Catholic church’s global confederation of social service agencies to encourage better understanding of the plight facing the world’s record numbers of migrants and refugees Sept. 27. He called on Catholics to welcome those coming to their countries with “arms wide open.”

Dedicating his entire general audience in St. Peter’s Square to Caritas Internationalis’ new “Share the Journey” campaign, the pontiff said Jesus asks Christians to welcome migrants with arms that are open and ready to give an “affectionate and embracing hug” to people escaping war and violent conflict.

In a reflection on the value of hope, Francis said hope is “the push in the heart” of both the migrant who leaves his or her homeland in search of a better life and the person who welcomes them and wants to “encounter them, to know them, to dialogue together.”

“Hope is the desire to share the journey of life, as the Caritas campaign that we inaugurate today reminds us,” said the pope. “Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to share the journey! Do not be afraid to share hope!”

via Christopher White:

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the USCCB are part of a global network of organizations participating in the campaign organized by Caritas Internationalis.

Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and president of Caritas Internationalis, said the primary purpose of the campaign is to encourage a return to the study of scripture, “where God always had a soft spot in his heart for the most vulnerable.”

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Tagle said “Through this campaign we hope to correct some negative myths about migrants and migration and also to address some of the roots of forced migration.”

The cardinal pointed out that the campaign of action and awareness-raising will give a human face to migrants, as opposed to seeing them as mere numbers and statistics.

“If we do not address this humanitarian crisis with the help of all governments and communities we will see generations of people with their hopes of a future destroyed,” said Tagle.

As a part of the global collective efforts, the participating U.S. organizations have launched a website https://www.sharejourney.org to provide access to ideas and tools to further participation in the campaign.

Whole Life Pope Identifies Immigration as a Pro-life Issue

Christopher White writes:

During his in-flight press conference en route home from Colombia, the pope recalled that “I heard the president of the United States introduce himself as a ‘pro-life’ man.

“A good pro-lifer understands that family is the cradle of life, and that its unity must be defended,” the pope said.

The pope’s remarks came in response to questions regarding Trump’s recent decision to rescind the DACA program, which protects qualified immigrants from deportation – a move the pope says he hopes the president will “rethink.”

While some Republicans and Trump supporters have pushed back against the Pope’s whole life approach, including the highly partisan Susan B. Anthony List, others have emphasized how valuable this approach is, including Millennial writer Nichole Flores:

“I’m surprised that he would address the situation so directly. But I’m also not surprised, because it is an essential part of the pastoral and prophetic witness of the Catholic faith,” she told Crux.

For Flores, the Church’s ability to offer a consistent ethic of life has the capacity to convert skeptical hearts and minds.

“In order to make a moral case for one of these issues, we have to make the moral case for all of the issues,” she said.

“To sacrifice one for the sake of staying within the bounds of a particular political party’s orthodoxy really erodes our ground for speaking prophetically and pastorally to another issue. And it really erodes the ground of the pro-life movement to not defend the lives of immigrants,” she added.

Pope Francis in the Time 100

Pope Francis is profiled by Cardinal Blase Cupich in this year’s Time 100:

Before being elected Pope, Francis gave a speech to his fellow Cardinals warning against becoming a “self-referential” church, rather than one that goes out of itself to the margins of society to be with those who suffer. That is where God is working in the world and where he calls us to be. This has rung especially true this year, as Francis has spoken out on the need to welcome refugees amid a global crisis.

Reflections on Pope Francis and His Impact on His Fourth Anniversary

Here are a few of the numerous articles reflecting on Pope Francis’ four years as pope:

A Crux rundown of memorable moments from Francis’s first four years: “Hearing the Holy Father speak aloud the words “the land of the free and the home of the brave” from the dais of the U.S. Congress in September 2015 was an unexpectedly emotional occasion for me. Despite such bitter polarization in recent years, here was the leader of the Catholic Church bringing political leaders from both sides of the aisle together in a rare moment of genuine joy and enthusiasm that no State of the Union could come close to matching! In that address, Francis used the occasion to recast the American Dream through the lens of Catholic social teaching. It proved to be an occasion to reconsider what’s best about America-and I hope it served as an examination of conscience for the entire nation. (Christopher White)”

Cardinal Cupich: Francis is giving new life to Vatican II reforms by Joshua McElwee: “The hopes and the joys. But also, the struggles, the sorrows that people have. He is united with them. The church claims to be an expert in humanity, and an expert about humanity. I think that the pope is really trying to, in many ways, express the aspirations of humanity but also the challenges it faces today, much like the document Gaudium et spes did. That’s how I would sum it up.”

Pope Francis’ fourth anniversary: will the reforms work? by Michael Sean Winters: “We have had four years in which the universal pastor of the church has unrelentingly called attention to the plight of the poor. Could a future pope turn his back on the Global South and the poverty of the people there in order to make nice with the wealthy of the West? Is it conceivable that a future pope would join forces with the movements of political reaction and national chauvinism, turning his back on the plight of migrants and refugees?”

Pope Francis: Top 10 Most Important Moments by Wyatt Massey: “In “Laudato Si,’” the pope criticized consumerism, discussed the effects of climate change on the poor and grounded his argument deeply in the Bible and church tradition. The encyclical, published June 18, 2015, officially added teaching on the environment to the body of Catholic Social Teaching.”

Highlights of Year 4 by OSV: “Upon receipt of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen in recognition of his work to promote European unification in early May, Pope Francis asks of the continent: “What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?””

Four years on, Francis’s pastoral revolution is the heart of it all Austen Ivereigh: “Its impact may be deep and wide-ranging, but the essence of the Francis reform, clearly visible after four years, is a re-focussing on the Church’s pastoral mission to humanity.”

Pope Francis Hosts Lunch with Syrian Refugees

via Vatican Radio:

Pope Francis had lunch with a group of 21 Syrian refugees on Thursday at the Casa Santa Marta.

During the luncheon, both adults and children had the possibility to speak with Pope Francis about the beginnings of their life in Italy.

The children gave the Holy Father a collection of their drawings, and the Pope showered them with toys and other gifts.

The refugees, who live in Rome and are hosted by the St. Egidio Community, were brought to Rome from Lesbos by Pope Francis at the conclusion of his visit to the Greek island on 16 April 2016.