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ADDRESS ON WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES, 2002

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Immigration and Inter-religious Dialogue
World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2002

Msgr. Felix A. Machado
Undersecretary
Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue

Many of the hundred and fifty million migrants, who are spread around different parts of the world, have brought with them their religious traditions. As a 'map of various religions' our world can be an enriching experience. The multireligious character of the world can be a source of great harmony and peace. Of course, mutual enrichment and peace do not come about by themselves. We are only too aware of the tensions and conflicts that exist, often intensified by the difference of religion. There needs to be a healthy interaction and exchange among people of different religious traditions. Mutual enrichment, harmony and peace are fruits of dialogue. The Catholic Church has been promoting this dialogue among religions for a long time and the message of the Holy Father on the occasion of the World Dayof Migrants and Refugee 2002, needs to be read in this context.

Some immigrants may just be passing through, in transit to a more permanent destination, or perhaps hoping to return to their countries of origin. Others have come to stay, forming stable communities. They have left their own country and have settled down permanently in another place, but without leaving their religion. For example, in Italy we have immigrants from North Africa, sub Saharan Africa and South Asia. Many of them are Muslims. There arc people from India, among whom we meet followers of the Sikh religion. There are Tibetans who are Buddhists and immigrants from what used to be known as Indochina among whom many belong to the Buddhist religious tradition.

Immigration and interreligious dialogue are sometimes spoken of as problems in our society. In his message on the occasion of the World Dayof Migrants andRefugees 2002 the Holy Father brings these two together and shows how they can be opportunities for contributing harmony and peace to the world. The phenomenon of immigration offers occasions for Christians to engage in dialogue with people of other religious traditions. The practice of dialogue, in turn, enables Christians to know the immigrants justly and fairly and thus help them integrate better into society.

Inter religious dialogue for the Catholic Church is not an abstract idea. Remaining uncompromisingly consistent with its doctrine and tradition the Catholic Church invites all its faithful to engage in interreligious dialogue. This simply means to pass from distrust, suspecion and refusal of the other to respectful acceptance. Admitting that the way of dialogue is not an easy one, the Holy Father exhorts Christians to engage on this path, considering it also as an aspect of the new evangelization. The path of dialogue offers opportunities for pastoral initiatives. The Holy Father reminds the Christian faithful that authentic dialogue is always built on one's own testimony of faith. The practice of interreligious dialogue presupposes honesty and mutual trust. This is why partners in dialogue cannot hide the obvious facts of day to day life. For example, the Holy Father does allude to difficulties faced by Christian immigrants who do not always enjoy religious liberty when they choose to live in countries in which the religion of the majority is different from theirs.

The experience of many years show that interreligious dialogue can be undertaken on different levels. The Catholic Church speaks of four levels or forms of dialogue. They are distinct from one another yet at the same time inter connected: 1. dialogue of life it implies concern, respect, and hospitality towards the other; 2. dialogue of collaboration it calls every Christian to work together with each and all for goals of a humanitarian, social, economic, or political nature which are directed towards the liberation and advancement of humankind; 3. dialogue of specialists it involves confrontation, deepening and enrichment of the respective religious heritages; and 4. dialogue of religious experience it implies sharing one's experience of prayer, contemplation, faith and duty, as well as one's expressions and ways of searching for the Absolute.

In his message on the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and of Refugees - 2002 the Holy Father invites Christians to work mainly through their parishes. The parish is a 'palestra' of hospitality, says the Pope. Through these Christian communities bonds of friendship can be built, collaboration can be undertaken for the good of society and a culture of respect and solidarity can be promoted together with immigrants who belong to different religious traditions.

On the level of dialogue of life Christians, through their respective parishes, can manifest a spirit of welcome, understanding and respect towards immigrants and refugees. For example, on the occasion of religious feasts of different religions, the Christian community can organise programmes in order to exchange greetings (the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends a special message to Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims for their respective festivals of Diwali, Vesakh and Id al Fitr). It is also an occasion to understand the deeper religious significance of a festival of a particular religious tradition.
The Holy Father draws our attention to the dialogue of life through the practice of Christian charity.He says, “Everyday, in many parts of the world, migrants, refugees and displaced people turn to Catholic organizations and parishes in search of support, and they are welcomed irrespective of cultural or religious affiliation”(n. 4).

The dialogue of collaboration can also be promoted when Christians can be instruments in bringing together immigrants who belong to different religions in order to work for the good of the whole society.

Different places of worship and centres can encourage the dialogue of spiritual experience. Friendly and fraternal relations with people of different religions can help in acquiring sound knowledge of different religions. This knowledge can replace prejudice, misunderstanding and intolerance.

“Inter-religious dialogue is not opposed to the mission ad gentes” (Redemporis Missio, 55) and, " ...true inter-religious dialogue on the part of the Christian supposes the desire to make Jesus Christ better known, recognized and loved...." (Dialogue and Proclamation, n. 77). Christian communities can invite immigrants and refugees who belong to different religious traditions to discover Christ, the Lord and Saviour of all.The Holy Father underlines this point when he says in n. 4:

The service of charity, which Christians are always called to carry out, cannot be limited to the mere distribution of humanitarian aid. In this way, new pastoral situations arise, which the Church community cannot fail to take into consideration. It is the task of its members to look for appropriate occasions to share with those who are welcomed the gift of the revelation of God who is Love, who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (Jn 3:16). With the gift of material bread, it is indispensable not to neglect to offer the gift of faith, especially through one's own existential witness and always with great respect for all. Welcome and mutual openness allow people to know each other better and to discover that the various religious traditions not rarely contain precious seeds of truth. The dialogue that results from this can enrich every spirit that is open to the Truth and the Good.

 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS

MAY 1
ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER
This is St. Joseph's second feast day on the Church calendar of celebrations. We honor him also on March 19. St. Joseph is a very important saint.

MAY 2
ST. ATHANASIUS
St. Athanasius was born around 297 in Alexandria, Egypt. He devoted his life to proving that Jesus is truly God.

MAY 3
ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES
Both of these saints were part of the original group of Jesus' twelve apostles.

MAY 4
BLESSED MARIE-LEONIE PARADIS
Blessed Marie-Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L'Acadie in Quebec, Canada. It was May 12, 1840.

MAY 5
ST. JUDITH OF PRUSSIA

St. Judith lived in the thirteenth century. She was born in Thuringia. This was in what is now central Germany. She wanted to model her life on the example of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

MAY 6
BLESSED FRANCOIS DE MONTMORENCY LAVAL

Blessed Francois was the first bishop of Quebec City, Canada. He was born in 1623 in a small town in France.

MAY 7
BLESSED ROSE VENERINI

Blessed Rose was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1656. Her father was a physician. Rose entered the convent but returned home after a few months.

MAY 8
BLESSED CATHERINE OF ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Catherine was born on May 3, 1632, in a little village in France. She was baptized the same day.

MAY 9
BLESSED NICHOLAS ALBERGATI

Blessed Nicholas was born in Bologna, Italy. Nicholas' family could afford to send him to the university where he began to study law.

MAY 10
ST. ANTONINUS

St. Antoninus lived in the fifteenth century. Even as a boy he showed that he had good sense and will power.

MAY 11
ST. IGNATIUS OF LACONI

St. Ignatius was the son of a poor farmer in Laconi, Italy. He was born on December 17, 1701.

MAY 12
ST. NEREUS, ST. ACHILLEUS AND ST. PANCRAS

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers who died around 304. They were probably Praetorian guards under Emperor Trajan. We know little else about them.

MAY 13
ST. ANDREW FOURNET

St. Andrew Fournet was born on December 6, 1752. He was from Maille, a little town near Poitiers, in France. Andrew's parents were religious people.

MAY 14
ST. MATTHIAS

St. Matthias was one of Our Lord's seventy-two disciples.

MAY 15
ST. ISIDORE THE FARMER

Saint Isidore was born in 1070, in Madrid, Spain. His parents were deeply religious. They named their son after the great St. Isidore, archbishop of Seville, Spain.

MAY 16
ST. UBALD

St. Ubald lived in twelfth-century Italy. He was an orphan raised by his uncle, a bishop. Ubald was given a good education.

MAY 17
ST. PASCHAL BAYLON

St. Paschal, a Spanish saint, was born in 1540. From the time he was seven, he worked as a shepherd. He never had the opportunity to go to school.

MAY 18
ST. JOHN I

St. John I was a priest of Rome. He became pope after the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. At that time, Italy's ruler, Theodoric the Goth, was an Arian.

MAY 19
ST. CELESTINE V

Peter di Morone was the eleventh of twelve children. He was born around 1210 in Isernia, Italy. His father died when he was small.

MAY 20
ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

St. Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in a town near Siena, Italy. He was the son of an Italian governor.

MAY 21
BLESSED EUGENE DE MAZENOD

Blessed Eugene was born in France in 1782. He became a priest in 1811. Father Eugene was sensitive to the needs of the poor and he ministered to them.

MAY 22
ST. RITA OF CASCIA

St. Rita was born in 1381 in a little Italian village. Her parents were older. They had begged God to send them a child. They brought Rita up well.

MAY 23
ST. JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI

St. John Baptist Rossi was born in 1698 in a village near Genoa, Italy. His family loved him. They were proud when a wealthy couple visiting their town offered to educate him. His parents knew the couple and trusted them.

MAY 24
ST. DAVID I OF SCOTLAND

St. David was born in 1080. He was the youngest son of St. Margaret, queen of Scotland, and her good husband, King Malcom.

MAY 25
VENERABLE BEDE

Venerable Bede, the English priest, was famous as a saint, a priest, a monk, a teacher and a writer of history. He was born in England in 673.

MAY 26
ST. PHILIP NERI

St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was "Good little Phil." He was always so jolly and friendly that everyone he met loved him.

MAY 27
ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY

St. Augustine was the abbot of St. Andrew's monastery in Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great chose him and forty other monks for a mission dear to his heart.

MAY 28
BLESSED MARGARET POLE

Blessed Margaret was born in 1471. She was the niece of two English kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Henry VII arranged her marriage to Sir Reginald Pole.

MAY 29
ST. MAXIMINIUS

St. Maximinius was a bishop who lived in the fourth century. It is believed that he was born in Poitiers, France. As a young man, he heard of a saintly bishop of Trier, in Gaul.

MAY 30
ST. JOAN OF ARC

St. Joan was born in 1412. Her hometown was Domremy, a little village in France. Jacques d'Arc, her father, was a hard working farmer.

MAY 31
THE VISITATION OF MARY

Visitation means "visit." The Archangel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby.

 
ABOUT ARCHANGELS
SAINT MICHAEL
St. Michael the Archangel Story
History of St. Michael the Archangel Prayer
St. Michael the Archangel Prayers
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The Chaplet of St. Michael Archangel
Novena to St Micheal the Archangel
Litany of St. Michael the Archangel


SAINT GABRIEL

St. Gabriel Prayer

SAINT RAPHAEL

St. Raphael Prayer
 
PHOTO OF THE MONTH


Tour of the Relics of the Passion
(International Center for Holy Relics)
www.HolyRelics.org

 
REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

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