Today, the Church celebrates World Day of Migrants and Refugees, an anniversary that marks the last Sunday of September in the Catholic calendar starting from 1914, the year in which it was established. This year, the title chosen by Pope Francis is “Towards an ever wider we”.

The pope sets a reminder addressed to all of us that we should consider how we understand those around us. Too often, we abuse the rhetoric of ‘us’ and ‘them’, where the first group is considered a small circle of people who we believe share similar affinities, relegating all those whom we consider distant as ‘them’.

By doing so, we create a boundary that separates us from others – an insurmountable barrier. We often see this rhetoric used to describe the migrants and refugees who desperately knock on our door looking for a better life, those who too often die by drowning at sea or having to endure remote and treacherous terrain.

Everyone belongs to a single community, which is that of humanity.  This community should not be divided by rhetoric such as ‘them’ and ‘us’. 

‘They’ should not exist on planet Earth. It is ‘we’, all together, who are sinking into the abyss of inhumanity, indifference and insensitivity.

As reiterated by the Pope Francis in his message, “we are all in the same boat and called to work together so that there will be no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but only a single ‘we’, encompassing all of humanity.

“Thus,” the pope said, “I would like to use this World Day to address a twofold appeal, first to the Catholic faithful and then all the men and women of our world, to advance together towards an ever wider we.”

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees should push all Christians to address the issues raised by migratory flows as a challenge to put into practice, and bear witness to the values of charity and mercy, of commitment to those who are less fortunate, to those who have need our support. A moment of empathetic exchange that would enrich everyone.

We all have a responsibility to take care of each other- Regina Catrambone

As stated by the pope, “this is the ideal of the new Jerusalem, where all peoples are united in peace and harmony, celebrating the goodness of God and the wonders of creation.

“To achieve this ideal, however, we must make every effort to break down the walls that separate us and, in acknowledging our profound interconnection, build bridges that foster a culture of encounter.

“Today’s migration movements offer an opportunity for us to overcome our fears and let ourselves be enriched by the diversity of each person’s gifts. Then, if we so desire, we can transform borders into privileged places of encounter, where the miracle of an ever wider ‘we’ can come about.”

We should strive for an ‘us’ that does not contemplate closure, an ‘us’ that includes, that embraces, that supports those who flee from the disastrous conditions that are perpetrated in some states of the African and Middle Eastern continent which are overwhelmed by conflict.

We should support those moving towards Europe, those who try to reach the US from the southernmost regions, those fleeing from lands overwhelmed by violence, such as Myanmar, or from the tragedy that has afflicted Afghanistan in recent months.

We must support human beings who, due to political, social and climatic situations, live in conditions of hardship, suffering, violence and marginalisation, and who try to live in a better place.

We all have a responsibility to take care of each other in the name of our humanity.

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