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'True encounter does not end with welcome'

Pope Francis has marked the World Day of Migrants and Refugees with a renewed call for Christians to welcome displaced people around the world.

The Pope’s homily on Sunday, during a special Mass in the Vatican, stressed three essential points regarding the issue of refugees: protect, promote and integrate.

‘True encounter with the other does not end with welcome, but involves three further actions … to protect, to promote and to integrate,’ Pope Francis said.

pope-refugee-migrantsProtect, promote, integrate: Pope Francis issued a renewed call to welcome refugees and migrants during a special Mass last Sunday. (CNS/Paul Haring)

The special mass follows the Pope’s launch of the ‘Share the Journey’ campaign in September last year, a two-year action urging all people to open their hearts and minds to those who are seeking asylum.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, more than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced, and 22.5 million people are refugees. More than a quarter of them are from Syria.

As a founding member of the Australian End Child Detention Coalition, Catholic Mission has been engaged in this work for the past five years, particularly in the promotion and advocacy of the rights of child asylum seekers.

Catholic Mission’s Schools and Advocacy Program Manager, Jenny Collins-White, says the launch of the Share the Journey campaign was timely given the current global climate.

‘Share the Journey provides us with a renewed opportunity to reach out to parishes, schools and community groups through our Youth Envoys, who provide first-hand accounts of the life and death journeys they, and others like them, have made,’ Ms Collins-White said in the summer edition of Catholic Mission’s magazine Mission Today.

The Australian End Child Detention Coalition, part of the worldwide network of Catholic and secular supporter organisations, recently held its annual workshops to refine a three-year strategy.

Nov workshops copyMembers of the Australian End Child Detention Coalition gathered last year to form a three-year strategy.

Pope Francis’ keen attention to the issue of asylum seekers and displaced persons, channelled through the Vatican’s newly created Migrants and Refugees Section and given significant profile on days like Sunday’s global observance, will serve to guide and motivate the Coalition’s strategic decision-makers.

The Coalition’s Youth Envoys, such as Hayat, who came to Australia as a refugee, provide a vital perspective, not only in planning stages at the workshops, but at speaking engagements and supporter events around the country.

If you would like more information about the End Child Detention Coalition, booking a Youth Envoy to speak, or about getting active in the 'Share the Journey' campaign, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call toll-free number 1800 257 296.

Click here to read the full text of Pope Francis' homily from the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. 

Media contact: Matthew Poynting | (02) 9919 7833 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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