In collaboration with the Grand Seminary of Montreal, the Archdiocese of Montreal organized a symposium on the social and ecclesiological issues surrounding the welcoming of migrants and refugees, held May 14-16. The theme was “More bridges, less walls”.

Father Fabio Baggio, an undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, was the guest of honour at the symposium. He led the many priests and participants to reflect on the 4 verbs that Pope Francis proposed regarding the complex challenges that contemporary migratory flows present to political authorities, civil society and the Church, and that require a more urgent response that is carried out in a coordinated and efficient manner.

These verbs are:

WELCOMING: means, above all, providing migrants and refugees with safe and legal access to host countries. A change in attitude is urgently called for, to overcome indifference and favour, instead of our fears, a generous welcoming attitude toward the people who are knocking at our doors.  

PROTECTING: refers to a series of actions defending the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, regardless of their migration status. To protect these brothers and sisters is a moral imperative that should be translated into the adoption of clear and relevant legal instruments, both national and international.  

PROMOTING: means establishing an environment where migrants, refugees and host communities can develop in all the dimensions that constitute humanity as the Creator intended. The human promotion of migrants and their families begins with the communities of origin, where, with the right to emigrate, as well as the right to not have to emigrate, the right to encounter in one's homeland the conditions that enable a dignified existence must be ensured.  

INTREGRATING: corresponds to the opportunity for intercultural enrichment that migrants and refugees present. Integration is not an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, the purpose of contact with others must be to discover their "secret," to open up to them in order to welcome their valuable qualities and thus contribute to a more in-depth understanding of one another.  



Migration is a phenomenon, not a problem. We cannot ignore the challenges, but we can recognize the opportunities. Migrants and refugees help us renew our mission and the mission of our communities!