World Day of Migrants and Refugees
On Sunday September 25th, 2022, Archbishop Christian Lépine led a Mass to mark the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2022 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in Montreal. Held at one of Montreal’s Latin-American Catholic communities, the Mass was celebrated in several languages and accompanied with music from a variety of different cultures, in honour of both the multiethnic identity of our city and that of our future reality including migrants and refugees. Many of those in attendance wore traditional garb. The multicultural presence was also visible among the numerous priests presiding over Holy Communion, most of whom came originally from Asia, Africa, or South America.
To open our hearts and our doors to migrants and refugees is an opportunity to learn, grow, and mature as Catholics. We must always remember that our exposure to different religions and forms of spirituality deepens our own relations with one another. How should we look upon migrants and refugees that seek our help? It is with care and attentiveness that we should look upon those who are lonely, sick, and struggling with poverty. “All humans are made in the image of God,” Archbishop Lépine told us in his homily: “There is no better reason to look upon every migrant with care, than to remember that we are all a reflection of God, and are therefore brothers and sisters in humanity, regardless of culture and convictions.” At the heart of Pope Francis’s message of inclusion respecting the world’s migrants and refugees is the reminder that we have a responsibility towards the poor and the suffering.
Those called to the Eternal Kingdom - which has already begun and is already at work - must remember that all actions should be governed by the principles of solidarity, respect, and generosity. “Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross for every human being,” Archbishop Lépine reminded us - not just for those who resemble us in beliefs and heritage. As a reminder, at the front of the altar was a banner that displayed the Pope’s Four Verbs guiding the intercultural pastoral mission of the Church since 2017: Welcome, Protect, Promote, and Integrate. “We are called to be instruments of peace;” the Archbishop of Montreal concluded, “pray to Jesus in order to have His way of seeing and loving humanity.”
The processional entry of the Mass featured a globe of the world and a life jacket to allude to both the plight of “those living on the existential peripheries” and the Holy Father’s reminder in his message for the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2022, that we are all on a journey in search “for our true homeland, the Kingdom of God inaugurated by Jesus Christ, which will find its full realization when He comes in glory.”1
1 Message of his Holiness Pope Francis
for the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2022
(September 25, 2022) Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees
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