Staff Report – Florida Catholic
On September 27, Pope Francis launched the worldwide, two-year “Share the Journey” campaign calling on Catholics and the faithful to ‘encounter’ migrants and refugees in an effort to break down barriers of fear, as well as building bridges of understanding and hospitality.
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are part of a global network of Caritas organizations participating in the campaign. Together they have launched a new website for the global “Share the Journey” campaign in support of migrants and refugees around the world.
On the Diocese of Venice website, a photo slideshow was posted focusing on the issue, along with a video about a young woman, the adult child of migrant workers, who is now Program Director for Catholic Charities Guadalupe Social Services in Immokalee.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane has called on all parishes in the Diocese to include special prayer intentions for refugees at Masses and to regularly pray for migrants. As the two-year campaign moves forward, additional activities will be taking place.
The USCCB statement announcing the start of the campaign notes that the Pope is asking us to pray and reflect and to use the awareness we build to take action, both personally and publically. To our Church, this campaign is an embodiment of the Biblical command to love our neighbor.
Pope Francis kicked off “Share the Journey” at the Vatican with a symbolic gesture of reaching out to those displaced from their homes, who now number some 65 million around the world, the biggest such crisis since World War II.
“The Holy Father wants us to feel this personally,” says Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA. “Each of us must work to encounter the migrants and refugees who are all around us. All too often, they seem invisible to us. We need to hear their stories, literally share their journeys, and see them as our brothers and sisters.”
The campaign also calls for governments and international organizations to take responsibility for caring for forced migrants, most of whom are fleeing disasters – war, famine, violence – beyond their control.
More information about “Share the Journey” is available on www.sharejourney.org.