Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees
The Catholic Church in the United States is an immigrant Church with a long history of embracing diverse newcomers and providing assistance and pastoral care to immigrants, migrants, refugees, and people on the move.
Our Church has responded to Christ’s call for us to “welcome the stranger among us,” for in this encounter with the immigrant, the migrant, and the refugee in our midst, we encounter Christ. A rich body of Church teaching, including Papal encyclicals, Bishops’ statements and pastoral letters, has consistently reinforced our moral obligation to treat the stranger as we would treat Christ himself.
The pastoral statement Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity issued by the Bishops of the United States in 2001, calls upon the Catholic faithful to a conversion of minds and hearts. It implores us to a communion and solidarity with diverse newcomers and entreating us to find new and meaningful ways to welcome our immigrant sisters and brothers into our parishes, schools and communities.
In 2003, the Bishops of the United States and Mexico acknowledged in their joint pastoral statement Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope / Juntos en el Camino de la Esperanza Ya no Somos Extranjeros that the current immigration system is in need of a thorough reform. They also offered a set of comprehensive recommendations to change the U.S. laws and policies that may bring about a more humane and just immigration system in our nation.
For more information and resources, visit the Vatican website for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.