Each year, the world observes World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 26 or on the last Sunday of September. It is a day designated yearly by the United Nations to commemorate and honor people who have been forced to flee their homes, people who have escaped conflict, seen adversity, and, against all odds, forged their way to find greener pastures in places far away from their homes. This day has been designated to recognize the courage and fortitude of these people and heighten our level of empathy and understanding for the plight and difficult decisions many immigrants have had to make. The activities carried out on this day are to support and create opportunities for immigrants and refugees.
Every year since 1914, the church has been celebrating World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Pope Pius X called on everyone to join hands together and pray for migrants. Benedict who was succeeded only a few months later was moved by Pope Pius’ sensitivity and carried out some practical initiatives. During this time a letter titled “The pain and concerns” was sent to the Italian Diocesan Ordinaries with a request to establish an annual day of awareness to spiritually and economically support the pastoral work of Italian immigrants.
Lord, make us bearers of hope,
so that where there is darkness,
your light may shine,
and where there is discouragement,
confidence in the future may be reborn.
Lord, make us instruments of your justice,
so that where there is exclusion, fraternity may flourish,
and where there is greed, a spirit of sharing may grow.
Lord, make us builders of your Kingdom,
together with migrants and refugees
and with all who dwell on the peripheries.
Lord, let us learn how beautiful it is
to live together as brothers and sisters.
Prayer for Migrants and Refugees
Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus, today you call us to welcome the members of God’s family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Like your disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,
- To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
- To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs;
- To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;
- To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
- To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.
We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Lord Jesus, today our hearts are with those fleeing their homes in desperate search of safety and the possibility of a better life. Remove from our hearts, Lord, the suspicions, prejudices and fears that separate us from these strangers in our midst. Help us to respond to their needs as a community of generosity and love, seeing your face in all those most in need around us. We ask this, Lord, in your name.
Pope’s Prayer for Immigrants
Merciful God, we pray to you for all the men, women and children who have died after leaving their homelands in search of a better life.
Though many of their graves bear no name, to you each one is known, loved and cherished.
May we never forget them, but honour their sacrifice with deeds more than words. We entrust to you all those who have made this journey, enduring fear, uncertainty and humiliation, in order to reach a place of safety and hope.
Just as you never abandoned your Son as he was brought to a safe place by Mary and Joseph, so now be close to these, your sons and daughters, through our tenderness and protection.
In caring for them may we seek a world where none are forced to leave their home and where all can live in freedom, dignity and peace.
Merciful God and Father of all, wake us from the slumber of indifference, open our eyes to their suffering, and free us from the insensitivity born of worldly comfort and self-centredness.
Inspire us, as nations, communities and individuals, to see that those who come to our shores are our brothers and sisters.
May we share with them the blessings we have received from your hand, and recognize that together, as one human family, we are all migrants, journeying in hope to you, our true home, where every tear will be wiped away, where we will be at peace and safe in your embrace.
Strangers in a Foreign Land
Lord God, help us to remember those who tonight will go to sleep unfed and unwelcome,
strangers in foreign lands, people who have fled for their lives and are far from their homes.
We lift up to you those who are escaping persecution and conflict, having fled death, torture or ruthless exploitation.
So many carry wounds, mental and physical. So many have suffered greatly.
Lord Jesus, give us more of your compassion for their plight, soften our hearts to their situation,
and help us follow your lead in seeking justice and mercy on their behalf.
We pray for an end to the wars, poverty and human rights abuses that drive desperate people to become refugees in the first place.
We give thanks for people working in troubled countries and ask for more of
your blessing so we can bring life, dignity and hope to those that remain.
We thank you that you are Lord of all the earth and all its people are loved by you.
We pray these things in the name of your Son who was himself born into the troubled life of a refugee.
A Prayer for World Day of Migrants and Refugees
When Abraham welcomed the angels,
They, too, were on a journey,
And he begged them not to pass him by.
How is that we miss the holy image of God
In our sisters and brothers,
Traveling perilous distances
In the baking sun, the drenching rain?
How is it that we do not run from our tents
To welcome and deeply embrace
All who flee from violence and poverty,
Seeking the ever-distant horizon of hope?
May we, like Abraham,
Run to gather the very best
Of what we have to offer
And lay it out lovingly
On the holy table of hospitality.
POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER FOR THE WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
Father, you entrusted to Saint Joseph what you held most precious: the child Jesus and his Mother, in order to protect them from the dangers and threats of the wicked.
Grant that we may experience his protection and help. May he, who shared in the sufferings of those who flee from the hatred of the powerful, console and protect all our brothers and sisters driven by war, poverty and necessity to leave their homes and their lands to set out as refugees for safer places.
Help them, through the intercession of Saint Joseph, to find the strength to persevere, give them comfort in sorrows and courage amid their trials.
Grant to those who welcome them some of the tender love of this just and wise father, who loved Jesus as a true son and sustained Mary at every step of the way.
May he, who earned his bread by the work of his hands, watch over those who have seen everything in life taken away and obtain for them the dignity of a job and the serenity of a home.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom Saint Joseph saved by fleeing to Egypt, and trusting in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom he loved as a faithful husband in accordance with your will.