Pope Francis launches new Caritas migration campaign
26 September 2017
Pope Francis is showing his special concern for people on the move by launching Share the Journey, a new campaign in support of refugees and migrants.
The Share the Journey campaign brings together more than 200 Catholic organisations. This includes CAFOD and Caritas Social Action in England and Wales, and our sister Caritas agencies in every continent.
Together, we will call on our all governments, and on all people, to play their part in welcoming and protecting people forced to flee their homes due to poverty, war, persecution or natural disaster.
Do not be afraid to share hope!
The Holy Father launched the campaign on Wednesday 27 September, meeting and embracing migrants during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis said, “Hope is the desire to share the journey of life, as the Caritas campaign that we inaugurate today reminds us. Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to share the journey! Do not be afraid to share hope!”
CAFOD volunteer, Christina Lucey from Bexhill-on-Sea was in St Peter's Square as Pope Francis launched the campaign. She said, “It was such a privilege to be there. The teaching on the real meaning of the word hope was very moving and thought-provoking. Pope Francis challenged us all to open our arms wide to welcome refugees, and all forced to leave their homes and possessions, who set off in hope in the true sense of the word, hope being all that they have left.”
Call on governments to protect refugees and migrants
The Pope’s actions aim to highlight the Church’s commitment to sharing the journey of people on the move. Now world leaders must be moved to do the same as they negotiate new UN global agreements (or ‘compacts’) on refugees and migration to be finalised in September 2018.
In August 2017, the Vatican released a 20-point plan. This outlines the issues that need to be included in the global compacts to ensure that the human dignity of refugees and migrants is respected.
The document calls for concrete actions, such rights for people on the move to work and support their families, and special protection for child refugees.
Graham Gordon, CAFOD Head of Policy said: "Pope Francis is reminding the world that migrants and refugees are our brothers and sisters, that we all want the same things for our families. We must recognise our common humanity and treat them with dignity."
However, with only just over 12 months until the UN agreements will be made, little progress has been made so far.
The Church’s response to people on the move
In 2016, nearly 40,000 CAFOD supporters sent messages of hope to refugees. These messages are being shared with refugees in Europe and all around the world.
In 2018, CAFOD will produce new materials to help Catholic parishes and schools to get involved with the Share the Journey campaign, building up to a week of action in June 2018.
CAFOD's mission is to tackle the extreme poverty overseas which can push many people to leave home. We see first-hand how it is often the world's poorest countries that receive the majority of migrants and refugees. Therefore we work with local organisations on the ground to offer practical support and hope for the future.