Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, Under-secretary of the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section, doesn’t talk about migration, he shared in a special Laudato Si’ Dialogue in Rome on Sunday, the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
Cardinal Czerny focuses on the migrants, the faces behind the migration problem that’s made worse by the climate crisis.
Terms, such as migration, “distance us from the people,” Cardinal Czerny said. “It can be dangerous if we don’t talk about the human beings… the people suffering and in need of help.”
Since 2019, natural disasters have displaced nearly 35 million people globally. Scientists have made clear that a warmer planet is likely to produce stronger hurricanes and more extreme weather, such as droughts, landslides, historic floods, and rampant wildfires.
Cardinal Czerny and the other speakers in the Season of Creation dialogue, titled, “A Home for all: Towards an ever wider ‘we’,” urged all Catholics to care for migrants and refugees around the world.
They also invited all people to care for our common home as the climate crisis produces climate refugees around the world.
WATCH: ‘A Home for all: Towards an ever wider ‘we’’
Pope Francis said in his Sunday Angelus: “It is necessary to walk together, without prejudice and without fear, standing alongside those who are most vulnerable: migrants, refugees, displaced persons, victims of trafficking and the abandoned. We are called to build an increasingly inclusive world that excludes no one.”
His Holiness devoted his message for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme, “Towards an ever wider ‘we’.”
“In order to ensure the proper care of our common home, we must become a ‘we’ that is ever wider and more co-responsible, in the profound conviction that whatever good is done in our world is done for present and future generations,” Pope Francis wrote.
I appeal to all men and women to journey together towards an ever broader “we”, to renew the human family, to build together a future of justice and peace, and to ensure that no one is left out. #WDMR2021
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) September 26, 2021
Tomás Insua, Executive Director of Laudato Si’ Movement, shared how he saw first-hand how the poorest among us, despite having little to do with the causes of the climate crisis, are bearing its worst effects, and why we must work for climate justice.
It was in 2013, and Insua was visiting the Philippines not long after Typhoon Haiyan struck the island nation. The then strongest storm to ever make landfall carried winds of 195 miles per hour and resulted in an estimated 15,000 people dead or missing, although an exact figure may likely never be known.
“It’s necessary to unite and listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor,” Insua said.
He urged everyone to sign the “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” petition, which tells world leaders how to care for God’s creation ahead of two United Nations summits.
Fr. Jaime Campos, OFM, Director of the General Office for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, highlighted how the climate crisis is causing migration and resulting in climate refugees across the world.
The dialogue was held at San Francesco a Ripa, a church in Rome dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi as he once stayed at a nearby convent.
Fr. Campos, along with fellow Franciscans Alessandro Partini and Roberto Bongianni, explained how they welcome people, no matter their circumstances, and help them return to society, and called on all people to help our brothers and sisters in need of help.
Two migrants also added their experiences to the dialogue. One, from Albania, came to Italy because he lacked work and a future in his former country.
The other migrant shared how he arrived by boat years ago, seeking a better life. Both men have been helped by the Franciscans.
Lucia Capuzzi of Avvenire emceed the dialogue.
More about the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees